Pavilion by Neri & Hu Design and Research Office: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Civic—Religious
Aimed at stressed-out city dwellers, Sangha by Octave is a lakeside health-and-wellness retreat and residential development. At its center stands a pavilion conceived by husband-wife Interior Design Hall of Fame members Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu to serve as a place of reflection for guests and owners. “We thought that it should be tranquil and, at the same time, a beacon,” Neri says.
Octave, the socially responsible real-estate development company co-owned by Hall of Fame member Calvin Tsao, had asked for a building that could be used for various events while exuding the solemnity of a sacred space. You get that sensation on approaching the luminous cube, elevated by a plinth of gray brick that has a spare, almost monastic quality. The entry progression then takes you on a contemplative journey through brick-lined passageways and up staircases. Inside, oak slats wrap the upper walls of the “nave,” its mezzanine, and the cathedral ceiling. “The project is about layers,” Hu says. “Both visually and experientially.”
She and Neri drew inspiration from European cathedrals that, centuries-old, continue to inspire awe. And because the 6,300-square-foot pavilion is relatively small when compared to, say, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the architects hope that visitors will feel a sense not so much of awe as of peaceful introspection.