Award | International Faith & Form Awards
Chinmaya Mission Austin has been recognized internationally with an award for New Religious Architecture from Faith & Form magazine and the AIA's Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA). This year's jury recognized 28 projects across 10 categories; all were featured a special issue of Arquitectura Viva magazine.
In its development and execution, the design of Chinmaya Mission Austin strikes a delicate balance between the need to respect the traditional building methods of an ancient religion, and the desire to employ a contemporary aesthetic that reflects the forward-thinking approach of an international faith. The campus master plan combines the traditional vastu shastra principles of Hindu design—emphasizing geometric patterns, symmetry, and directional alignments—with a contemporary sensibility. The completed first phase consists of a 4,185 sq ft temple and a 10,460 sq ft Bala Vihar (educational building) arranged around a central lawn, with space reserved for future buildings including an auditorium, priest’s quarters, and additional educational facilities.
Established as a home for the Central Texas division of Chinmaya Mission, an international non-profit Hindu spiritual organization, this new 8-acre campus is characterized by an architectural language that reinterprets traditional Indian typologies in order to reflect the organization’s modern context while calling to mind the universal principles of a global community. Presented with the unique opportunity of designing a Hindu mission in Central Texas, the architects applied their knowledge of local building materials to create a visual language that is rich in texture, sculptural in quality, and innovative in design.
At the temple, the prevalence of symmetry and geometry are reminders of traditional Hindu religious architecture, which values visual balance in physical space and, consequently, in one’s inner spirit. Beginning in the central meditation hall and moving out toward the perimeter of locally-sourced limestone blocks, a series of concentric circles, squares, and rectangles—including an illuminated pattern in the meditation hall’s dramatically-sloped ceiling—references traditional mandalas and mandala-inspired architecture. Clean, angular lines define the exterior and interior spaces, while the perimeter of rough-cut stones obscures the view beyond when worshippers are seated inside the temple, focusing their attention back inward and encouraging meditation and introspection..