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A Temple in New England

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  • A Temple in New England

    Temple in New England

    This is the next design in the series of what a Daheshist Temple might look like in a particular area. For this design I have explored the options of building in the beauty of the foothills of the Appalachian Trail in western Massachusetts. This is an area that has always inspired me for its unbelievable beauty throughout the year... I have been out there in all four seasons... and each season is breathtaking in its own way.

    The views are near panoramic... and the sunsets absolutely sublime...

    This is also an area where land in certain locations is available and as such can afford a variety of options that I think would go well hand in hand with a small complex such as this.

    Firstly, sunshine is in abundance... as such solar power is an easy and viable option... in doing preliminary calculations... it is quite feasible to not have to bring any outside electrical power on site (other than for back up, or to sell power back to the grid during off hours). This is the foundation of a truly "GREEN" building... one that takes as little from the environment as possible.

    Another nicety of this area, and since land is available, is also the possibility of utilizing small windmills to generate power... wind power...

    Over the next few weeks I will present plans and a finished model (with hopefully New England foliage, no less)...

    But for now, to explain the overall basics of the design...

    This is more of what I would call a living and working Temple. The scale is larger and as such accommodates much more function for itself as well as the community it resides in.

    The interior workings have an auditorium, meeting rooms, a library, cafeteria and office spaces. This particular location has a small hill that I have located the building on that looks down in to a beautiful valley with the mountains in the distance...

    There is also the option of having separate living quarters nearby.

    The basic simple rectangular forms are derivative to my mind of old New England meeting houses... places where the community could come together, solve community issues, worship together and sometimes establish community policy.

    The yellow pieces in the drawing indicate glass... with the most notable feature being the large vertical sky light over the main auditorium building. This allows diffuse daylight to enter the interior spaces during the day and creates a soft presence in the night sky as the sun goes down. The overhangs at the windows allow the winter sun in to the interiors but block the over heating of the summer sun.
    Last edited by Johnson; 02-15-2009, 12:03 PM.

  • #2

    Temple in New England

    Here is picture of a Daheshist Temple designed in response to a beautiful site in western Massachusetts. The ideas investigated here in this ongoing exploration can certainly be adapted to other scenarios as well.

    The goal of this design was to contain within one structure the functions of a larger working Daheshist Temple. Many of these functions have been discussed and addressed here on Daheshville.

    A Daheshist Temple such as this is to serve as a center for the various important aspects of the lives of a community of Daheshists (marriages, funerals, teaching, counseling) as well as an ongoing work environment for the various projects, administrational and functional needs of the Daheshist Mission.

    The smaller structure in the foreground is a bookstore and library for the sale and presentation of Dr. Dahesh’s books and writings. The larger structure to the rear, overlooking the valley contains an auditorium with administrative functions on the lower level.

    The auditorium can serve as a Temple for the daily spiritual needs of the Daheshist community as well as a hall for lectures, movies or other presentations.

    Temple in New England detail

    This picture shows the entry patio and garden between the two main structures. On the front of the library facing the entry walk is a fountain and Daheshist Star made out of local granite. The two pairs of six entry steps, twenty feet wide are flanked by the library and two water collection cisterns. These cisterns each have a fountain as well serving their primary purpose of collecting water for irrigation of the grass and gardens. Surrounding each cistern is ramped walkway.

    The dimensions of the library, the entry, the auditorium, the skylight and the cisterns... are all based upon the proportional module of 1 to 1.4 which is the same dimensional proportion as the paper used to perform the Daheshist prayer.

    The roof lines are various combinations of six and twenty degree angles.


    • #3

      Temple in New England rear view

      Here is a view of the Temple showing how it sits in its hill that slopes down to the valley below. The lower patio that opens off the administrative and cafeteria and kitchen areas is also visible here.

      The dome at the auditorium level is where the central podium or altar resides. The amber glass used in the library is continued here in the auditorium as well as the lower levels. In the auditorium this provides a 180 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valley… overhead rolling shades are incorporated at all windows for complete lighting and shading control.

      There are six gardens on the lower patio off the cafeteria area (the circular area at the lower level under the dome) as well as six buttresses at the curved retaining wall. Angled ramps connect the upper gardens with this lower patio.

      Temple in New England detail

      Here is a detail of the upper 'flower' garden terraces. The walls of the terraces angle out from the Temple at 20 degrees.


      • #4

        Temple in New England first floor plan

        Here is the first floor plan of the "New England Temple" design. Here you can see the "modular" components of the library/bookstore, entry lobby, auditorium, water cisterns and stair landings all having a length to width ratio of 1 : 1.4 which again follows the proportion of the yellow Daheshist prayer paper, which in turn also "just happens" to correspond to the cross sectional dimensions of the foundation stones in Baalbek.

        The 20 degree angle of the upper level flower gardens is also a little clearer here. The lower level patio and gardens are reminiscent of the radiating pattern in the Dahesh Society of America logo.

        The interior functions are of a library and auditorium, entryway and support facilities on the first floor. The entry and control points of each is set up such that both or either the library or auditorium can be used in off hours or independently of one another throughout the day.

        The library is sized that it can be used as a reading room as well as bookstore for Dr. Dahesh’s books and writings. Daylight enters this space from amber colored clerestory windows running around the perimeter. These windows in turn are sheltered from direct sunlight in the summer months to minimize heat gain, as well as shading the interior from glare and harmful UV radiation.

        The auditorium is set up in the form of a small amphitheater allowing for a variety of functions. These could range from marriages, funerals and memorials to lectures and power point presentations to movies and community discussions… The seating is expandable to an upper level balcony as the need arises. The main space also opens up to two patios on both the east/west axis to accommodate both egress requirements as well as outdoor functions.

        These patios also are in place to take advantage of the views down the valley and distant mountains on this particular site. To the rear of these patios, ramps cascade down to the lower lever patio off the primary work areas of the Temple.


        • #5

          Temple in New England first floor plan

          This is the lower level floor plan of the "New England Temple" design. The lower level of the Temple houses the administrative operations of the Temple, a kitchen and cafeteria, work areas, conference room, classrooms and offices.

          The workroom and cafeteria spaces open out on the lower outdoor patio that also overlooks the valley... all the glass areas also have electronically operated shades to control sun and shading issues... as well as controlling too much daydreaming at the views...

          There is a secure vault under the library as well as smaller conference rooms and offices under the entryway.

          This lower level is set up an an "open" office plan sort of layout, meaning that the floor above is engineered such that there are very few structural columns on this floor to inhibit flexibility of layouts. This allows for an unlimited number of options for office cubicles or free standing wall layouts to accommodate a variety of needs or operations for the working end of the Temple.

          An elevator off the entry foyer provides vertical access to the main floor, lower level and the auditorium balcony. There are also two interior stairways giving controlled public and private access to all three of these levels.


          • #6

            Temple in New England

            In an effort to be a “green” neighbor, the primary structure of the building is concrete with an epoxy stucco coating. This coating is tinted such that it never needs painting which is helpful in not harming the air quality of this area.

            The roof structure is made up of composite wood structural trusses which in essence are made from “scraps” of the lumbering process. Glass and skylights are made up of high efficiency low emission glass with a UV and amber coating which reflects interior heat back in to the building and exterior heat back to the outside... making the heating and air conditioning loads smaller in each respective season.

            The heating a cooling system is based upon what is called a “geo thermal” system. This is a system that uses the nature temperatures of the earth itself to heat and cool the interior of the Temple. This is a natural and energy efficient system that balances itself with the natural processes and ebbs and flows of nature. The earth at a certain depth is approximately a constant 55 degrees. By circulating a fluid down through pipes deep in the earth and back to the mechanical system of the Temple, heat is applied to the 55 degree constant and raised 15 degrees to a comfortable interior temperature of 68 degrees... this is in lieu of a more conventional system that has to raise the temperature from what could be freezing outside ambient air and applying enough energy to raise zero degrees to 68 degrees. Air conditioning is essentially the cost of running fans to circulate the cooled air from the ground.

            Rainwater is collected in the central portions of the roof as well as the fountains and reflecting pools/cisterns in the front of the Temple and then gravity fed to underground storage tanks for use as irrigation for the property. Septic and potable well water is all taken care of on site.

            Ideally, small wind turbines would be used to generate electrical power for the Temple. Solar panel arrays could also be utilized. Between these two, domestic hot water and the running of the fans and pumps for interior heating would require no offsite utility services.

            With the use of high-density thermal insulation, this Temple could effectively operate completely “off the grid”, completely self sufficient and being totally independent from any outside utility connections.

            Whenever and wherever a Daheshist Temple is located on this earth... I personally feel that these issues are very important to deal with. The message of Daheshism is a continuation and immanently more detailed illumination of the inspired spiritual teachings of the ages. In as much as it teaches us our spiritual place and relationship with the universe and all things in it... it gives us a road map of how to be good stewards to both one another as well as how to honor in harmony this temporary "vessel" we call earth.


            • #7
              Dawn, Dusk and Night shots...

              Temple at Dusk

              This is an overhead picture of the Temple as it would look lit up at dusk or at dawn. The skylight blade extending from the roof is timed to illuminate from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon and then again from 6:00 pm until 12:00 midnight... these are the hours specified in the Daheshist Rites during which the Daheshist prayer is to be performed. The yellow/amber glass that is illuminated is reminiscent of the Daheshist prayer paper… as well as the yellow flame of the burning of the prayer itself.

              I could potentially see the idea of timed lighting incorporated in to various different structures (temples, memorials) as a unifying element to “synchronize” Daheshists structures in different locations in to a unified whole…something very subtle that acknowledges the time frame during our days when the sacred prayer is to be written and burned... as well as a glowing testament of the unity of the belief we share.
              Last edited by Johnson; 02-12-2009, 10:51 PM.


              • #8

                Temple at night

                Here is another overhead picture of the Temple after the sun goes down. The outline of the skylight becomes more intense as darkness falls.
                Last edited by Johnson; 02-12-2009, 10:40 PM.


                • #9

                  Temple at night

                  Here is a shot of the Temple entry at night. The outline of the skylight glows with its soft amber light against the night sky.


                  • #10
                    Western Massachusetts is a heavenly place as well as the designs.


                    • #11
                      Thank you Chad...