At the Won Buddhist Retreat designed by hMa, Victoria Meyers architect, there is a discrete split between the live spaces and the meditation space. Meditation was seen by the Won Buddhist clients as a space of slience, and live as a place for the sounds of living.
This difference created an extreme difference of Sound experience in the two spaces. Within the Live Courtyards, there would be sounds of people talking, eating, preparing food, and discussing ideas about the lessons taught at the Center.
The Retreat was seen as an educational campus, where visitors would learn the ideas embedded within the Won Buddhist meditation techniques. hMa also saw the Retreat as an example of the firm's ideas around Sound Urbanism: the creation of spaces that frame different qualities of sound.
The Meditation Hall frames silence, as well as the sound of the Buddhist Abbot's bell, imported from Korea as part of the sect's importation of their very specific concepts around meditation. The Residential buildings are arranged around courtyards, designed as areas for outdoor discussion, where visitors can share the day's lessons, and discuss the sect's philosophy. Walking paths through the site, where resident monks and visitors can walk, and hear only the sounds of the Nature of the site.
Victoria Meyers architect has developed ideas around sound urbanism after several years of work with sound spaces, and after collaborating with sound artists, including Michael Schumacher (the composer who developed the sound piece WaTER, for the hMa building DWi-P in New York City); and Stephen Vitiello, who Ms. Meyers worked with in New York prior to 2001, who she assisted in his first foray into Marfa, Texas.
The Won Buddhist site was designed by hMa to have Zero Carbon Footprint, and is a mitigated Brownfield site. The campus includes four Residential buildings that float as spiral pavilions in the landscape. The Won Buddhist Retreat is located in Clavarack, New York. All buildings on the site are built using FSC cedar, and the project includes geo-thermal heat and cooling; a solar panel field for electrical supply, and a central bio-mass boiler for hot water and heat.