If you ever go to Markham, ON, Canada, you absolutely need to check out the Wong Dai Sin Temple there when interested in architecture since Shim-Sutcliffe Architects did manage to come up with something special, a modern sacred space hosing a Taoist community that is dynamic and committed to Tai Chi.
Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism wanted a special spiritual home that highlights religious beliefs while being contemporary. The new temple thus shows a great use of counterbalance and asymmetry, all creating equilibrium, which is important for all poses in Tai Chi.
Slender concrete piers support a minor cantilever and perfect counterbalance use led to gaining a lot of on-site parking. We look at a sacred space that uses 2-way concrete slabs for support integrated with 7 rectangular poured concrete extras, all connected to a very robust raft foundation.
When you walk inside you can instantly see that interior design was not neglected. Large motorized skylights are offering enough natural light and floor to ceiling windows were added to make everything even better. In the Wong Dai Sin Temple’s prayer hall you see a small shift as a smaller wooden building is created inside the temple as a space for contemplation.
On the whole, the Wong Dai Sin Temple is a perfect space for Taoism and Tai Chi practice put in all inside a modernly designed building that is impressive from every angle you look at it.
Photographs by: James Dow