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Poh Ming Temple

Poh Ming Tse temple is designed to reflect the context of the contemporary Singapore society.  The essence of traditional Buddhist architecture is extracted, distilled and then reinterpreted to adapt to its modern setting. 

Integrated harmoniously into this modern structure that houses the very traditional functions of prayer and worship is a 12 metre high curved glass curtain wall reminiscent of a traditional Chinese scroll.  The bamboo decalcomania depicted on the “scroll”, the curved glass wall, is symbolic of the Buddhists’ aspiration to reach the stage of “emptiness” in mind and soul, the ultimate peace and tranquillity.  Upon closer scrutiny, devotees would also recognise that Buddha’s teaching is most apparent as the whole bamboo painting is in fact formed by a cadence of Chinese letters taken from the Buddhist sutra scriptures.  Thus the curved glass wall, meant to be read as a giant open scroll of Buddhist sutra literally ¬explores the way of teaching through visual communication with the building façade. 

Architecturally, the sweeping curved wall softens the rigidity of the large masonry building block.  A further reference to Chinese temple architecture is the uniquely sweeping pitched roof, with the lifting tilt of the roof ridges at all four corners.  This trademark of traditional Chinese corner roof eave interpreted in simple curves is an important memento of the previous demolished temple on the same premise, especially to the faithful devotees of this temple.  Its deep roof overhang also speak well of sensitivity and response to tropical weather, against rain and shine. 

The aluminium louvered screens that wrap around the side façade not only address the function of improving indoor day lighting and softening direct glare from the eastern/western sun, they also add texture and planes to the modern character of the temple.  Some fixed while some operable, the louvered screens create indirect visual connection to the surrounding while projecting a pleasant tropical flavour.  At night, the interior light that filters from within through the curved glass wall and the louvered screens transform this temple into gauzy lantern, against a backdrop of darkness in this residential neighbourhood. 

Within the building, the main prayer hall at 3rd storey boasts of a double volume high ceiling.  Devotees entering the hall are at once captured by the sacredness of the vast space and serenity of the white marble Buddha statue against a backdrop of translucent glass depicted with sutra scriptures.  The simplicity of the white interiors is derived from the simplicity of the overall architectural language. 

Project Year | 2011

Location | Dunearn Road, Singapore

Poh Ming Tse temple is designed to reflect the context of the contemporary Singapore society.  The essence of traditional Buddhist architecture is extracted, distilled and then reinterpreted to adapt to its modern setting. 

Integrated harmoniously into this modern structure that houses the very traditional functions of prayer and worship is a 12 metre high curved glass curtain wall reminiscent of a traditional Chinese scroll.  The bamboo decalcomania depicted on the “scroll”, the curved glass wall, is symbolic of the Buddhists’ aspiration to reach the stage of “emptiness” in mind and soul, the ultimate peace and tranquillity.  Upon closer scrutiny, devotees would also recognise that Buddha’s teaching is most apparent as the whole bamboo painting is in fact formed by a cadence of Chinese letters taken from the Buddhist sutra scriptures.  Thus the curved glass wall, meant to be read as a giant open scroll of Buddhist sutra literally ¬explores the way of teaching through visual communication with the building façade. 

Architecturally, the sweeping curved wall softens the rigidity of the large masonry building block.  A further reference to Chinese temple architecture is the uniquely sweeping pitched roof, with the lifting tilt of the roof ridges at all four corners.  This trademark of traditional Chinese corner roof eave interpreted in simple curves is an important memento of the previous demolished temple on the same premise, especially to the faithful devotees of this temple.  Its deep roof overhang also speak well of sensitivity and response to tropical weather, against rain and shine. 

The aluminium louvered screens that wrap around the side façade not only address the function of improving indoor day lighting and softening direct glare from the eastern/western sun, they also add texture and planes to the modern character of the temple.  Some fixed while some operable, the louvered screens create indirect visual connection to the surrounding while projecting a pleasant tropical flavour.  At night, the interior light that filters from within through the curved glass wall and the louvered screens transform this temple into gauzy lantern, against a backdrop of darkness in this residential neighbourhood. 

Within the building, the main prayer hall at 3rd storey boasts of a double volume high ceiling.  Devotees entering the hall are at once captured by the sacredness of the vast space and serenity of the white marble Buddha statue against a backdrop of translucent glass depicted with sutra scriptures.  The simplicity of the white interiors is derived from the simplicity of the overall architectural language.