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Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre, Walsham le Willows

The complete ensemble feels sparse and sensuous

Credit: Will Scott

Walters & Cohen Architects for London Buddhist Centre

Contract value: £4.16m

GIA: 1,210m²

Although mainly inward facing around courtyards, this exquisite building for the Vajrasana Retreat connects to the Suffolk countryside with views from shared and private rooms much as a monastic settlement might. It is a perfect setting for a Buddhist centre.

A subtle but powerfully orchestrated palette of materials is used, with day to day living spaces clad in timber. These, and the courtyard, which is used for teaching, meditation and relaxation, are separated from quieter areas by a walkway that cuts through the building to connect the entrance and wider landscape beyond. Quieter courts here embrace the shrine room and are enclosed by skilfully-executed dark lattice brickwork that allows light to play over and through the walls. The complete ensemble feels sparse and sensuous.

  • Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Will Scott

Close collaboration between client and architect has produced an extraordinarily well conceived building with a wonderful sense of calm.

Regional Building of the Year

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