Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A New 'Eastern' Meditative Architecture For An Old 'Western' Monastic Order

In 1999, Architect John Pawson was commissioned by Cistercian monks to design a new monastery for a site in Bohemia, the Czech Republic. The scheme combines elements retained from the original baroque complex with entirely new architecture.

While some of the vocabulary is without literal precedent, the design remains true to the spirit of St Bernard's twelfth century architectural blueprint for the Order, with its emphasis on the quality of light and proportion, on simple, pared down elevations and detailing.


John Pawson was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a period in the family textile business he moved to Japan, where he spent several years teaching English at the business university of Nagoya. Towards the end of his time in Japan, he moved to Tokyo, where he visited the studio of Japanese architect and designer Shiro Kuramata. On his return to England, Pawson enrolled at the Architecture Association in London, leaving to establish his own practice in 1981.

Novy Dvur Monastery
Abbaye Notre-Dame
de Sept-Fons
The Czech Republic 2004

With thanks to On An Overgrown Path's essay "Iannis Xenakis composes in glass".

Photo credit: John Pawson web-site. With thanks.


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