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Vale De Moses Meditation Cabin Competition Entry info

Amieira, Portugal

NEXT architecture entered Bee Breeders’s architectural competition for the Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat meditation cabins in central Portugal.

The ANA cabin design explores two key concepts in meditation: pranayama and asana. Pranayama is the thoughtful control of one’s breath while asana refers to one’s physical body posture [a meditation pose for example]. Both elements work together to allow for meaningful meditation. The cabin form is derived from these two concepts. The outer form [the asana] is a sturdy structure that surrounds a delicate form within [the prana]. While each cabin serves a single individual, when grouped on the site a sculptural water channel weaves a connective thread.

The ANA cabins are located on the excavated stone terrace and take advantage of the embodied energy already expended excavating the site. The cabin’s southwest orientation allow valley views with a sensitivity to wind and sun exposure. The angled roof form acts as the cabin’s breath [the prana] and is positioned to provide passive ventilation. A slightly elevated wood walking path passes through rain gardens and guide the individual to their treatment cabin. A sculptural water channel links each cabin while serving as a pathway for rain and gray water to feed the gardens.

As an individual walks through the garden and approaches their cabin, views of the valley are framed. The cabin interior offers a variety of tunable user features as well as space for treatment supplies. Operable exterior screens offer flexible levels of privacy, light, and ventilation. The interior of the ANA cabin is simple to allow focus on treatment. Cork treatment on the walls and ceiling offer sound dampening and are a locally sourced/rapidly renewable material. A radiantly heated slate stone floor tile extends visually from the interior to the exterior viewing balcony. The exterior cabin materials are black locust wood and corten steel. They are selected for sustainability and transformative properties. While the black locust wood grays as it ages, the corten steel darkens to a deep brown.