These four tranquil pavilions in upstate New York function as a meditative retreat

Nestled in the forests of upstate New York is a contemporary meditative retreat called the Tranquil Abiding. Designed by Studio MM architects, the retreat focuses on spirituality and attempts to celebrate it via a ‘ritualistic’ walk through the woods. The concept includes a residential complex that has been spread out over four interconnected pavilions which are positioned near the Glen Spey temple.

Designer: Studio MM Architect

Nestled on a site of 115 wooded acres, a quaint creek runs through the expanse of the property. The entire layout of the house was planned according to meditative practices and the intimate contemplative areas used to practice them. The foundation wall features a cantilevered concrete slab which gives the appearance that the pavilion is almost floating above the ground. The structure’s exterior features a natural stone-built facade that has been used to cover all four pavilions, creating a uniform and yet stretched formation.

Although all the various pavilions are autonomous, they are connected using corridors. This creates a cohesive arrangement of spaces that are both vacant and occupied, in turn allowing an interesting relationship between void and the built. The various transitional zones impart a sense of visual continuity to the interiors of the pavilions. All the various living spaces such as the bedroom, living room, guest suite, and meditation space into four different pavilions. The living room is placed towards the south, allowing sunlight to generously stream into the interiors, while the main bedroom is provided with a southeastern exposure, and views of the creek.

However, the pavilion used for meditation features a different design and treatment than the other three pavilions. It was designed to play a central role and was placed according to the preference of the users. A floating rooftop the meditation pavilion, allows clerestory windows to be included below. The meditation pavilion also features scaled-back windows which ensure that the outside does not function as a distraction, and maintains an air of privacy and intimacy in the space. A wood-clad ceiling is accompanied by clerestory windows that allow light to gently stream into the space throughout the day. The rest of the interiors feature a rather modest and humble design.