International Bodhisattva Sangha (hereafter IBS) is a modern Buddhist temple. From its appearance IBS could be easily told from other local traditional counterparts for the exclusive use of coarse concrete. This modern concrete temple, covered by green vines over years, sits in a crowed city against a very busy street scene. The entrance gate sets back from the street, allowing visitors to rest under an old plum tree, seeing and sensing some activities insides through the waterfall wall before they step in the temple. Implied here is an architectural motif to enlarge visitor’s sensory experiences before they could be enlightened by the Buddhist wisdom. The building site is rather small so that the worship hall and other facilities are vertically arranged within three stories and connected by a staircase known as a ‘route to the enlightenment’.
Vima House is a self-owned shop run by IBS, selling artworks, vegetarian diet, and other Buddhist commodities. Designed and constructed also by BMT, Vima House and IBS are an interesting pair for the use of different materials, from which the use of rammed earth in Vima House marks BMT’s switch of interest to natural materials. Vima House is modified from a traditional shophouse with an enlarged atrium to usher in more sunlight. A chinaberry tree is planted at the center of the house with staircase whirling around, leading visitors to different stories to galleries, canteen, boarding room and other facilities. With that, they are expected to immerse in a Zen lifestyle and Buddhist wisdom.