Wahi Ata Noho is a quiet place conceptualized as a vertical labyrinth. The resulting space is intimate enough for individual meditation sessions, where the user may move up and down the cabin, pausing at each platform. By ascending and descending, the user may experience different levels of sunlight or shade. Additionally, their surroundings will change, influenced by changing scents and sounds as one’s proximity to the tree canopy or the ground shifts. This guided freedom becomes a manifestation of the common body scan meditation technique in real space.
Central to the scheme is a continuous void through the structure that establishes a direct connection between Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother). In having the earth and the sky be visible from any moment in the structure, we are continuously encouraged to relax and reflect on tranquility when looking up. We feel grounded and protected when looking down. This volume allows for the elements - light, air, rain - to enter into the space. During group meditations, individuals seated on any of the platforms throughout the structure can still hear and interact with the rest of the group.
The entire structure is shrouded in a woven cloak that accentuates the project’s undulating form with a rhythmic pattern. The cloak is composed of 850 four-sided pieces of tightly woven fabric, crafted and sourced through an outreach program with the local community. Any participant, young or old, who is interested in being involved with the project can tailor their piece of the wrap as they wish. When all the pieces are gathered and stitched together, the structure will forever be embraced by the whānau who made the space a reality.