Chi Lin Nunnery

1990, Religious 宗教建築

5 Chi Lin Drive

A pure mind will find oneself on land of purity. Growing from mud, Lotus remains unstained. Living in a city of hustle and bustle, one can still find peace of mind and serenity in our hearts. Chi Lin Nunnery resembles a lotus in the city that blossomed since 2000. The construction of the nunnery is a breakthrough in local architectural industry - It is a temple complex of timber structure constructed under the restriction of the Buildings Ordinance for modern architectures. Following Tang Dynasty style, the architect insisted in using mortise and tenon joints instead of nails for the construction. Another challenge is to meet modern day expectations such as air-conditioning system and fire service installations, while striving to maintain the forms and appearance of the compound as an ancient architecture. The layout of Chi Lin Nunnery is based on “Sūtra tableau illustrating the Paradise of the West” in Mogao Caves of Dunhuang. The architectural design of the temples is based on the illustration of "Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra". The nunnery utilises the central axis for the layout of main structure, to exhibit essence of Tang Dynasty architectural style including symmetry, balance, simplicity and majesty with its layout planning and design. Sūtra means turning scriptures into illustrations. Chi Lin Nunnery takes a step further – it transforms illustrations into architecture. Being inside this architectural space is like reading the essence of scriptures with your mind and soil.

心淨則土淨。蓮花代表出污泥而不染。在繁華鬧市中,我們的心仍可以安然寧靜。志蓮淨苑正如鬧市中的一朵蓮花,於2000年綻然盛放。它在建築建造上是一大突破,竟然在現代的建築物條例下,立志要建一仿唐的木結構寺院建築群,堅持以木榫接合,不用釘子。它亦要解決冷氣消防等現代需求,卻又不失如古建築的面貌。志蓮淨苑的規劃以敦煌莫高窟中的「西方淨土變」為藍本,佛寺設計則基於「觀無量壽經變」圖,以中軸線為主體布局,在規劃和設計上都表達出對稱、 均衡、簡約、厚重端麗的唐代建築風格。「經變」的意思就是把佛經的內容變成圖畫,而志蓮淨苑再把圖畫變成建築。置身在此建築空間內,就是以身心閱讀經典中的要義。

文:陳翠兒 (香港註冊建築師)  
攝影:李培基 (香港註冊建築師)