The Nan Tien Institute and Cultural Centre is a new tertiary educational facility and multicultural art gallery based in Wollongong, Australia.
The institute is situated opposite the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, on the site of a former garbage tip bought by the Nan Tien Institute from the council for one Australian dollar.
Reflecting this, Woods Bagot has used the Buddhist symbol of the lotus flower, a pristine, beautiful bloom that arises from the mud, as the starting point for the design of the building.
In keeping with the Humanistic Buddhist teachings of Fo Guang Shan, the architecture avoids hierarchy, is of the now, values the void and provides a neutral environment devoid of excess and materialism.
The structure of the building was formed by grouping spaces into four distinct ‘pods’, creating a public space in between. The pods are linked by active bridges, allowing for the movement through the building to be a journey comprised of moments, destinations and thresholds.