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Meditation Hall ~ designing a beautiful space

"...A beautiful voluminous space will now surround the plinth unrestricted by structural support columns or walls. The plinth will be bathed in natural light..."

At Swamiji’s request in November 2018, the Garba Griha section of the Meditation Hall was re-designed and, as part of these changes, the roof shape above the Murti and the existing internal space within the Garba Griha also underwent careful analysis and further re-design.

These changes came about as a result of not only Swamiji’s express wishes, namely to concentrate on the Garba Griha "as everything will flow from the design of that", but also after careful consideration of how we can make this the most suitable space for generations of people for many years to come.

Here are the details of the changes below:

  • This change in the Garba Griha roof design removed the original ‘bell tower’ design in favour of a simpler and more uniform pyramid concept. This shape removes the need for unnecessary internal supporting walls and columns, giving a clear space all around. This created 22 feet either side of the Murti and 22 feet to the back wall, as requested by Swamiji.

  • The new pyramid roof with have a glass apex (top) made of a large 4m x 4m glass pyramid lantern, giving plenty of light to illuminate the plinth below and unrestricted path for energy to travel.

  • The plinth will surround the Murti in its existing position, rising to align with the lower part of the Murti. Constructed out of marble or natural stone, the plinth will be 4.8 x 4.8m square. A Yantra chamber for a Vishva Chakra will be installed to the rear of the plinth, following Swamiji’s specific instruction.

  • A beautiful voluminous space will now surround the plinth unrestricted by structural support columns or walls. The plinth will be bathed in natural light.

  • The floors and walls in the Garba Griha section are likely to be finished with marble or natural stone tiles.

  • We have appointed structural engineers to provide the necessary roof loading and structural building calculations. These are required for mandatory building regulations.

  • The internal support structure will be made of wood - without the need for metal, as per Swamiji’s wishes. We will employ natural wood formed into specially shaped ‘Glulam’ Beams. These will have the structural strength to support the large dimensions of the roof and offer a natural and fitting design to the interior of the meditation hall (Guru Shakti Dham). We are in the process of pricing and procuring these beams from the UK and Europe.

  • The roof will be installed with roof lights to allow plenty of natural light to fall upon the meditation space.

  • As part of our mandatory building regulation compliance, we have appointed an acoustic engineering company to record and analyse the ambient noise present at the location of the hall. We are looking to insulate the building to not only meet building regulations but also achieve a silent space within the hall with little or no interference from road and rail traffic and aircraft noise as far as possible.

  • Our pure wish is for this building to be as environmentally friendly as possible and this is our ongoing approach.

  • To heat the building, we will use under floor water heating. The water will be heated by an air source heat pump, so protecting the environment. No fuel will be used. We will be using solar panels mounted discretely on the roof to provide all electricity required for the building.

With the completion of all structural calculations and final building regulation sign off this summer, we will then be in a position to start building, by installing the structural foundations into the ground and increasing the existing foundation to the full size of the final building.

Chris Hawkins

On behalf of the UK Ashram Building Team


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