Beijing – Architectural historians like to make an example of the Pantheon: for a Roman, to kneel at a pew and look up into its oculus was to confront one’s minuteness in the vastness of the universe itself. Attempting to duplicate this sense of awe and reflection is architect Jun Murata’s Meditation Space for Creation, an 80-sq-m meditative retreat, gallery and artist’s residence nestled within the Beijing Songzhuan art colony.
Religious institutions have long worked in two-fold, providing members a community and offering reflection. In the past few decades modernized cultural practices have emerged – many of them spiritual – that confirm a similar human drive for self-contemplation: take, for instance, the rise of astrology and tarot-card reading among millennials. Or the growing popularity of yoga and meditation as not only aerobic practice, but a lifestyle. The normalization of therapy in Western culture is yet another example of human craving for self-reflection and understanding.