KRIS YAO | ARTECH creates tranquil water-moon monastery
image © jeffrey cheng
all images courtesy of artech




conveying the spirit of zen buddhism, the ‘water-moon monastery’ by KRIS YAO | ARTECH is a minimal, yet strong form surrounded by tranquil landscape. situated on the vast guandu plain, the building faces the keelung river and has the datun mountain as its backdrop. respecting this beautiful natural environment, the design provides both a peaceful and spiritual place. the grand hall features an upper wooden box with a transparent lower half, giving the impression that it is suspended in the air. constructed mainly from concrete, the material’s simplicity allows for an overall reduction in color and form. two walls of different heights help to protect the interior by functioning as a buffer from the outside – the journey through the building gradually reveals its unique spiritual moments – upon entering into the temple, a view of the main hall is presented and out to the 80m long lotus pool beyond.

KRIS YAO | ARTECH creates tranquil water-moon monastery
the water-moon monastery is surrounded by tranquil, natural landscape
image © jeffrey cheng



‘when asked of what his vision for the future temple would be, master sheng yen, the founder of the monastery and dharma drum buddhist group, answered that he ‘sees’ the temple in his meditation dhyana, ‘it is a flower in space, moon in water,’ he said, ‘let’s name it the water-moon monastery’. explain artech architects.



the water-moon monastery is positioned at the end of an 80m long lotus pool
image © jeffrey cheng



on the west side of the grand hall, a massive wooden wall is carved with the famous ‘heart sutra’ in chinese characters. as the light shines through the carved-out symbols the interior space is filled with reflections, evoking a sense of spirituality. outside the long corridor, the characters of the ‘vajracchedika prajnaparamita sutra’ are cast void on the prefabricated GRC panels, providing additional religious meaning while also functioning as sunshades. when the scripture is imprinted onto the interior surface by the sunlight, it is as if the buddha’s teaching, in an unspoken manner, is revealed.



view looking over the lotus pool towards the long buffer wall
image © jeffrey cheng



on the west side of the grand hall, a massive wooden wall is carved with the famous ‘heart sutra’ in chinese characters
image © jeffrey cheng



the building is constructed mainly from concrete, allowing for an overall reduction in color and form
image © jeffrey cheng



the scripture is imprinted onto the interior surface
image © jeffrey cheng



interior view showing the cut-out characters
image © jeffrey cheng





project info:


clients: dharma drum mountain buddhist foundation
architect: kris yao | artech architects
team: hua-yi chang, kuo-lung lee, wen-li liu, jen-ying kuo, yvonne lee, chin tai, jun-ren chou, yi-heng lin, david chang
consultants: structural jae-lien international engineering consultants
plumbing, electrical & fire protection: majestic electrical engineers office
HVAC: I.S. lin & associates consulting engineers
landscape: CNHW planning & design consultants
civil: sino geotechnology, inc
lighting: chroma33 architectural lighting design
contractor: fu-chu general contractor co., ltd
building structure: steel frame structure, reinforced concrete.
materials: architectural concrete, teakwood, limestone, glass
floor levels: 2floors above ground
building use: religious/temple
site area: 27,936㎡
lot coverage area: 3,386.41㎡
total floor area: 8,422.75㎡
design phase: 2006
construction phase: 2010~ 2012
completed: 2012