Wong Dai Sin Temple in Toronto

Wong Dai Sin Temple in Toronto, Sacred Building in Ontario, Canadian Architecture Images

Wong Dai Sin Temple in Toronto

Place of Peace, Calm and Health in Ontario, Canada – design by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

5 Apr 2019

Wong Dai Sin Temple

Design: Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

Location: 378 Steeles Ave E, Markham, Toronto, ON L3T 1A9, Canada

Wong Dai Sin Temple

Wong Dai Sin Temple

The Wong Dai Sin Temple is a modern sacred space that houses a dynamic Taoist community committed to their inner spiritual development through the ancient physical practice of tai chi.

Wong Dai Sin Temple

This Taoist group needed a new spiritual home in suburban Toronto that had to reflect not only the heart and soul of their religious beliefs but also the modern contemporary world of their congregants. This place of worship is located on a major suburban arterial road surrounded by a shopping mall and cul de sac’s lined with oversized single family residential mansions. This new temple building demonstrates asymmetry and counterbalance while maintaining its equilibrium much like a measured tai chi pose.

The building’s south elevation is visible from the busy roadway to the south, reveals a major and minor cantilever supported on slender concrete piers. Stringent onsite parking requirements necessitated elevating the spiritual space above ground and providing surface parking below. This sacred space is supported on a two-way concrete slab integrated with seven rectangular poured in place structural concrete piers tied to a robust raft foundation. Exposed concrete is also used for the two cantilevered staircases, on the north east and south east, which along with an elevator, provides access to the second floor worship space.

Wong Dai Sin Temple

The building’s exterior on the north and south facades is clad in shaped weathering steel vertical fins that are used to control views from the inside looking out. Large vertical floor to ceiling window openings in the prayer space splay outward ensuring both natural light at the perimeter and good cross ventilation. The west and east elevations facing the neighbours are clad in large abstract panels of weathering steel ensuring privacy.

Wong Dai Sin Temple

Inside the Wong Dai Sin Temple, large circular motorized sky- lights are linked to large red light monitors which defines the natural light entering the space and also provides supports for large rings of incense used for Taoist chanting and prayer ceremonies. These glowing red lanterns of varying diameters create a cosmic ceiling plan and provide ethereal natural light which co-mingles with burning incense creating a spiritual space linking sky and ground and connecting our interior self with the external world beyond.

Wong Dai Sin Temple

Within the prayer hall is the most introverted space in the Wong Dai Sin Temple which is its memorial hall. This small wooden building within the temple is a contemplative space where ancestors are honoured. Bamboo memorial plaques line this internal wooden room providing a place for private contemplation. There are opportunities for congregants to leave offerings of gratitude and to light incense in honor of their love ones. This space is inextricably tied to other ancient Wong Dai Sin Temples in other parts of the world through its manipulation and amplification of natural light, its instrumental use of colour and its commitment to a carefully composed and tactile ma- terial palette. The daily worship of one of the world’s ancient religion of Taoism is embedded in the fabric of this modern sacred space.

Wong Dai Sin Temple Wong Dai Sin Temple

A one storey sacred space is elevated and supported on the two-way concrete slab and is integrated with seven rectangular poured in place structural concrete piers tied to a robust raft foundation. The two-way bonded post tensioned concrete slab system with its 10.2m cantilever on the west hovers over the parking area which acts as the structural support for the sacred space above. A smaller 5.2 m cantilever on the east side of the post tensioned structure accommodates an exterior terrace over the parking below and serves as a counter balance for the longer cantilever to the west. The use of cast-in-place concrete for the primary structure allows for an articulated underside to the structural slab. The building’s exterior on the north and south facades is clad in shaped weathering steel vertical fins that are used to control views from the inside looking out.

Wong Dai Sin Temple

Large vertical floor to ceiling window openings in the prayer space splay outward ensuring both natural light at the perimeter and good cross ventilation. The west and east elevations facing the neighbours are clad in large abstract panels of weathering steel ensuring privacy. The suburban site necessitated an exemplary and fully integrated approach to site sustainability. Concrete turf pavers in the northerly portion of the site met our demanding parking requirements while ensuring as much greenery and natural site drainage as possible. Permeable pavers in the southern portion of the space creates an urban parking court but can also be used for practising tai chi, demonstrating lion dances and facilitating many local community gatherings events under a big cantilevered umbrella. Plant material along the site perimeter and selected drainage cistern have been carefully designed to ensure privacy while also contributing to our holistic and integrated approach to site sustainability.

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Wong Dai Sin Temple in Toronto images / information received from Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

Location: 378 Steeles Ave E, Markham, Toronto, ON L3T 1A9, Canada




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