Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sphagnum Moss: The Harbin Temple – cobb and bale, or straw bale – wonderful roof … Pools are just up the hill

Harbin ethnography:

... As a Watsu School, and a place for workshops, the relatively small Dome complex is intimate and relaxed, facilitating the further creative development and teaching of Watsu (water shiatsu).

The cobb and bale Harbin Temple, or straw bale and mud hippie heyima, with a wonderful roof of spiraling, curved beams, lovely ocher, cosmic floor, and swervy walls, both outside and inside was built around 2005 in Mainside. There are often dances, musical happenings, and kirtan here, as well as three Harbin yoga classes a day. The pools are just up the hill, through the garden, and past Stonefront Lodge and the Gazebo. The Temple was built as a group effort, and Sunray facilitated much of the construction. The peak of the roof has a cupola, with a copper spire rising up to a crown of a golden orb with spikes on it, like a sun. There are two main entrances to it, and two rest rooms, near its front entrance. These rest rooms are particularly lovely in their own right, with curving walls, lovely views out the window, and great, funky design. The temple has a number of musical instruments in it, including a harmonium, and many pillows for sitting on, but no chairs. It has a number of wooden chests and cupboards that hold yoga props, and which can be sat on. About one quarter to one third of the temple is windowed from waist-level up, while the other two thirds has salmon-colored, swirvy walls, with occasional windows. Much of the temple has deep outside eaves, yet the temple is still open and light; the round skylight at the top allows in some of this light. The whole temple has great presence, feels like a native American sacred or ritual space, except that, as unique a structure as it is, it is made to code, and very modern in its ancient-lines and conceiving. It's central to Harbin's Mainside, just below the garden, and is one of the first structures you seeing when arriving at Harbin. In many ways, it's a hippy gem of vernacular architecture, which was well thought out, conceived of, designed, and constructed, partly by folks getting nude and throwing mud at the cobb structure a few times in 2005 (I was present at one such time). It's a masterpiece in a sense, and fascinating as a further artistic, symbolic and architectural expression of Harbin as place, and counterculture.

The Art Flowing-Walkway with Garden-area between Stonefront Lodge and the guest buildings called Azalea and Walnut, is another waterway-like, and curvy, example of Harbin architecture and design. ...

( - March 16, 2011)

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