- Windhover Contemplative Center by Aidlin Darling Design
A place to replenish the spirit, to rediscover that peace and composure that has become a rarity in our daily routine filled with the noise and distractions of an increasingly connected, fast and superficial world. The Windhover Contemplative Center on the Stanford University campus was designed as a spiritual retreat for students, faculty and staff, as well as for members of the larger community.
A building with a calm, relaxing atmosphere that showcases a series of paintings called “Windhover” by artist Nathan Oliveira. The subject of these monumental paintings is the kestrel, a bird of prey from the falcon family. Kestrels are often called “windhovers” because they can hover in the air, and face any slight wind before they suddenly swoop down on their prey. Nathan Oliveira - an artist who taught at Stanford from 1964 to 1996 - benefited from the calming effect of his paintings as "...a catalyst that can take you where you want your mind to fly", and donated them to the university.
The partners of Aidlin Darling Design have cultivated a collaborative studio that acts as the creative hub for an extended network of designers, artists, engineers and other collaborators. The firm’s work explores their closely held conviction that design can enlighten the human spirit by engaging all of the senses and their brief was to design a place not just to hang artworks but a place for contemplation, where visitors can rediscover peace and composure.
They focused a lot of energy on selecting the materials for the sanctuary located in the heart of the campus, next to a natural oak grove. Natural light was skilfully used to draw the eye to the paintings, while the rammed earth walls and wood surfaces further heighten the visitor's sensory experience.
Water features everywhere in fountains and reflecting pools. This element works with landscape to aid contemplation, in an ongoing dialogue between art and nature, a frontier that is harmoniously crossed here.
The formal solutions and materials in addition to the deliciously calming atmosphere have earned the Windhover Contemplative Center by Aidlin Darling Design a lot of recognition, including the 2016 Honor Award, Interior Architecture, AIA – National Chapter, the 2016 Honor Award, Society for College and University Planning & AIA Committee on Architecture for Education and a few weeks ago it was announced as one of the finalists in the Cultural – Religious Buildings and Memorials category of the 2016 Architizer A+ Awards.
Project: Aidlin Darling Design, http://www.aidlindarlingdesign.com
Location: Stanford, California, USA
Landscape Architect: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture
Rammed Earth Fabricator: Rammed Earth Works
Structural Engineer: Rutherford & Chekene
Lighting Design: Auerbach Glasow French
Electrical Design-Builder: Elcor Electric
Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer: Air Systems, Inc.
Civil Engineer: BKF Engineers
Acoustical: Charles M. Salter Associates
Daylighting Consultant: Loisos + Ubbelohde
Security: Guidepost Solutions
General Contractor: SC Builders, Inc.
Photography: Matthew Millman - thanks to v2com
Find out more: https://windhover.stanford.edu/art