Designed by San Francisco-based firm Aidlin Darling Design, The Windhover Contemplative Center on the campus of Stanford University broke ground at the end of July. The project is slated for completion by next spring.
The company, recipients of the Smithsonian's 2013 National Design Award, used Nathan Oliveira's meditative Windhover paintings as inspiration to design the one-storey, 4,000 sq ft spiritual retreat to promote personal renewal. The space is intended for quiet reflection throughout the day and will provide a place of refuge from the intensity of daily life for Stanford students, faculty, and staff members.
The Center is located in front of Roble Hall, adjacent to a natural oak grove. The extended progression to the building's entry through a long, private garden sheltered from its surroundings by a line of tall bamboo, will allow visitors to shed the outside world before entering.
It will include three rooms featuring five large paintings by the late artist Nathan Oliveira. Within, the space opens fully to the oak glade beyond, while louvered skylights wash the 15 to 30 ft-long paintings with natural light, unifying art, architecture, and landscape. Thick rammed earth walls and wood surfaces will further heighten the visitor's sensory experience from an acoustic, tactile olfactory as well as visual perspective.
Benches and cushions will be strategically placed to allow members of the Stanford Community to quietly view the paintings inside, as well as the oak grove and the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden outside. The building, enclosed in glass, will allow viewing of the Oliveira paintings from the exterior as well as from within, at all hours of the day and night.
Water, in conjunction with landscape, will be used throughout as an aid for meditation; fountains within the main gallery and the courtyard will provide ambient sound, while a still pool and garden to the south reflects the surrounding trees. The Center is being designed in conjunction with Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.