Some buildings are given nicknames by the public. These can be positive, like Sir Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin’ in London or Herzog & de Meuron‘s ‘Bird’s Nest’ in Beijing. However, sometimes nicknames carry a negative connotation like the ‘Peperclip’ housing project in Rotterdam designed by famous Dutch architect, Carel Weeber. Positive or negative, the adage “Better to be talked about than not at all” rings true.
We architects always create architecture in the public realm, yet some designs are more obvious than others. The project De Nooterhof and its nickname, ‘The Monopoly House’, gives a quirkiness to the city of Zwolle. The nickname is an honor.
The ‘Monopoly House’ nickname was first coined in a local newspaper, referring to the nature education center we’d built in the nature education and leisure park The Nooterhof in Zwolle.
Sitec Studio designed this building in a urban landscape plan we developed for our Landstede client.
The urban/landscape plan creates a combination of nature education buildings, a school and a museum within an revitalized nature education park with fields, forest and water. The school (C), the Museum (E) and the new bridge (11) have not been built.
Unbeknown to many, the birthplace of the Buddha is, in fact, a mostly unheard of place called Lumbini in province number 5, Nepal. It borders Gandaki Pradesh and Karnali Pradesh to the north, Sudurpashchim Pradesh to the west, and Uttar Pradesh of India to the south.
In recent months, soil has been broken in Lumbini, kickstarting the beginning of the ambitious Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace to mark the place where the Buddha took birth under a bodhi tree. Currently, just a simple Maya Devi temple to the south of the 3km by 1km urban plan by famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange and a dharma chakra wheel designed by Sitec Studio indicate the historic importance of the site. The dharma chakra wheel marks the spiritual centre of the future Mahasiddha Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary will measure 45m high and 80m in diameter and will contain a Grand Hall to accommodate more than 1000 persons for ceremonies and gatherings in the name of peace. At the top of the building is a planned Sanctuary Hall with a statue depicting Maya Devi giving birth to the Buddha. The Sanctuary will also house a museum, library and vegetarian restaurant.
Also on the site will be a separate monastery including monk and retreat accommodation and an MEVP building.
Bert Bulthuis of Sitec Studio Hong Kong is the lead coordinating architect for this ambitious project coordinating architectural and spiritual discourse between the client, H.E. Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche, the building committee, architects KplusK associates and consultants — the Beijing-based BIAD, and Kuala Lumpur-based JRP and Arcadis among them at venues across the Asia-Pacific region.
These are strange times and we, at Sitec Studio, hope that you’re keeping well and taking adequate steps to protect yourselves against the Corona virus.
As ever, through this blog, we endeavor to keep you up to date with our projects and bring a little sparkle, by sharing some of the things that have inspired us across the fields of architecture, urban design and interiors.
Stay safe and lose not your ability to be find things awesome!
— Bert Bulthuis, Principal architect, Sitec Studio, 2021