[ INDIA ]
Simon George Cherian / Azil Mohammed TP / Ajinkya Jamadar / Garima Aagarwal / Saniya Malhotra
“Leave the world be, conquering the world and changing it, I do not think it can succeed”- lao tze
We as Humans are progressing rapidly in all fields and yet our satisfaction rate is at an all time low. We lack time even with the time saving technology that we use constantly. What we don’t realize is that time is something that can never be saved, only used, either foolishly or wisely. We keep chasing the concept of how things should be, and forget to live in what is happening.
Taoism was the indigenous lifeway of the people of ancient china, which aimed at grounding people in the living reality of nature, living a simple, balanced life in harmony with it rather than interfering in the natural course of events. It refers to a state of being where our actions are effortlessly aligned with the flow of the world. Wu wei is an important element of Taoism, which means ‘without doing, causing or making’. It doesn’t refer to not doing anything, but it refers to not interfering with nature’s way, of not letting the idea of what should be take away from what is happening.
There are 5 flow states which help us achieve this state of wu wei. They are Play, Pause, Reflect, Exchange and Concentrate. The beauty of these is that we can interpret and incorporate them any way we want to, and we have created a space which gives the users to do the same.
The best way to understand Taoism is to look at nature, and learn from it. Imagine water flowing over and around the rocks in its path, not mechanically, not finding short cuts, not forcing itself, just flowing. Imagine a field of wildflowers, just growing, not hurrying yet accomplishing what they have to. That is what nature is, growing in whatever circumstance it is given. In nature, a place with no time saving devices, werealise that actually have time enough for everything.
‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’
By encompassing the essence of nature in this courtyard, and how it exists on its own, in harmony with everything, we have tried to create a peaceful haven along the principles of Taoism. We have aimed to design a place where you can free yourself from the constant planning of everyday life and just be present completely, just like you would be when you go out to take a stroll amidst nature. All of us need to learn how to consciously be in non-action, and to allow the universe to work it’s magic. We have aimed at the provision of such a place, taking inspiration from the traditional tea houses in china, where you can sit and relax all day, do exactly what you feel like, and let the flow of time engulf you.
The ambience thus created, will instill a sense of stillness and calm into the visitors.The space will seem to be living, like nature, just existing, effortlessly, without doing anything. This will further advocate living instinctively, responding in the moment, and letting change flow. This mindset nurtures a sense of self, as well as empathy and compassion towards others.
Wu wei can be summarized as -‘flows like a water, reflects like a mirror, responds like an echo’ We have attempted to design the courtyard in such a way that all spaces seem to flow into one another,just like the entire natural land all over the world seems to be flowing smoothly into one another, always connected; the people visiting this area will be able to reflect what is inside them, encouraged by the naturality around them, and people will respond to the design just like they respond to nature in the form of their actions/ reactions. The aim is to create a state of mind, and to not just convey a message.
On the ground floor we have semi open spaces, with varying ambiences. Some areas are quieter and more work oriented like the reading area and workspace near the entry. The raised platform can be used a stage on special occasions and otherwise serves as an area for group activities.
A more cheerful area, with a park-like vibe, stands at the entry. There is rock and rope climbing screen, in order to engage the children, almost as if they were climbing up trees.
Under the staircase leading to the tea house, there is a water body. You can dip your feet into the water and sit, or relax beside as if it’s a lake.
The first floor is the tea house. It can be loosely divided into 2 sections, one with chairs and tables, where people can sit for the little time they have before they leave for work and the other where you can sit on the carpeted floor with low tables and relax for hours at end. This communal space can be made even livelier with the use of musical instruments like guitars and flutes provided there.
Detached from all this, on the second floor a calmer and more personal space has been created. You can meditate on this top floor like you would on a mountain top, or practice yoga in the peaceful environment on early mornings.
All these spaces together combine to form the area you would go to, when you want to be in nature. We have attempted to bring this feeling right outside your doorstep!