This feasibility study and concept design proposal for a series of new buildings and extensions to a 14th Century monastery in a Hungarian hillside town is a counterpoint to the prevailing obession with physical and digital connectivity and accessibility.
The underlying concept was one of aescetic removal from society as a means of achieving a state of enlightened relaxation.
The monastery provides the conceptual starting point for a wholly different individual and collective experience. Everything about the retreat is intended to promote, and be totally conducive to, self-reflection, introspection, contemplation and collective well-being. The rooms, stepping down the hillside in a series of blocks, are a re-interpretation of the monastic cell, represented as simple concrete and local stone cubes.
The experience of visiting and staying at the monastery will reflect and reinterpret the pilgrimages of those who founded the monastery in 1482 and those who have been coming ever since. The underpinning concept is that of a journey from sensory exclusion or deprivation and progressing to sensory (and social) engagement. At the heart of the project is a well-being spa. Herbs grown on site provide the raw ingredients for aroma and other therapeutic treatments and a series of sensory deprivation chambers allow you to float, weightlessly suspended in a saline solution at body temperature with absolutely nothing to distract you. From here you move onto greater degrees of engagement with your senses and with others.