The new Poh Ming Tse Temple – Architectural Harmony of contemporary & tradition, an Expression of Buddha’s All Embracing Compassion Buddhist Architectures are found in many places, from ruins in Afghanistan, to golden pagodas in Myanmar; from the simple forest dwellings in India to the palatial structures in Taiwan and Hong Kong. They have evolved variedly, each enriched by the culture, environment, and the time in which they passed thru. These architectures have very different aesthetic flavour and they house slightly different activities due to differing needs of the users. However it is not common that the resultant Architecture forms in modern time sit comfortably in its context nor do they have relevance to its place in time because they are often borrowed and transplanted without regards to time nor context. The new Poh Ming Tse Temple is designed to reflect the contemporary Singapore society, while retaining the Chinese cultural roots. Hence there is a conscious adaptation of both modern architecture and traditional Chinese temple influence. Integrated harmoniously into this modern structure that house the very traditional function of prayer and worship, is a 12 metre high curved glass curtain wall reminiscent of a traditional Chinese scroll. The bamboo decalcomania depicted on the “scroll`, the curved glass wall, is taken from the traditional Chinese ink painting. Bamboo, with stalks of empty core, is symbolic of Buddhists’ aspiration to reach the stage of “kong` (emptiness) in mind and soul, the ultimate peace and tranquillity. Upon closer scrutiny, devotees would also recognise that Buddha’s teaching is most apparent as the whole bamboo painting was in fact formed by a cadence of Chinese letters taken from the Buddhist sutra scriptures. Thus the curved glass wall, meant to be read as a giant open scroll of Buddhist sutra, literally explores the way of teaching through visual communication with the building facade. Architecturally, the sweeping curved wall softens the stiffness of the building block. A further reference and expression of Chinese temple architecture is the uniquely sweeping pitched roof, with the lifting tilt of the roof ridges at the 4 corners. This trademark of traditional Chinese corner roof eave interpreted in simplified curves, is also an important memento of the previous demolished temple on the premise, especially to the faithful devotees of this temple. Its deep eave overhang also speaks well of the sensitivity to tropical weather, against rain and shine. Wrapping along with the façade, the aluminium louvered screens not only address the function of improving indoor daylighting and softening direct glare from the eastern/western sun, they adds textures and planes to the modern character of the temple. Some fixed while some operable, the louvered screens creates indirect visual connections to the surroundings while projecting a pleasant tropical flair. At night, interior light filters from within through the curved glass wall and the louvred screens, make this temple a gauzy lantern against a backdrop of darkness in this residential neighbourhood. Within the building, the main prayer hall at 3rd storey boasts of double volume high ceiling. Devotees entering the hall are at once captured by the sacredness of the vast space and serenity of the white marble Buddha statue against a backdrop of translucent glass depicted with sutra scriptures. The simplicity of the generally white interior is also in sync with the overall architectural language.


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Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com