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Architecture & Design Magazine

Meditational Gardens Library as a Sanctuary | Larry Travis

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Meditational Gardens | The Library as a Sanctuary designed by Larry Travis.

Immersed in the elements of light, shadow, nature, and divinity, Meditational Gardens questions the traditional definition of what it is to be a library by transitioning from a space acting only as a museum for books to a communal space for reflection.

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Its program serves as an information center, community building with business use, and a relaxation refuge. The building offers the Washington D.C. community a relief from the confinements of the bustling city to an oasis where residents can experience serenity and spirituality as they meander throughout the library.

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The facade of Meditational Gardens Library building aims to create a veil that conceals in the daytime when the library is the object of luminance, but is revealing at night when it is the source of illumination. This cinematic relationship creates an effect that dematerializes the visual imagery of the building while blurring the dynamics of the interior and exterior.

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Entry into the building establishes a spatial sequence as the veil shifts to emphasize the corners and entrances. Once inside the library, the importance of procession becomes apparent as emphasized in both vertical and horizontal movement along the structure of the column bays. This “nave” or path leads to the exterior gardens, while passing through the sanctuary.

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The interior/exterior dynamics remain constant throughout. The reoccurring component of the garden wall as first experienced upon entry acts as a guiding tool for the building and also creates places for meditation and relaxation while reading as shown in the reflection hall and reading terrace.

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The path to self-discovery leads to the final altar that is the meditative gardens. Visitors can view the gardens from the second floor or experience the gardens first hand on the ground level. The series of intimate small ponds and gardens create a calming atmosphere that is idealistic for the users as an escape from everyday life.

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Project Credits: Larry Travis

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