Located in Singapore, Thye Hua Kwan Temple is a multi-religious temple made by the non-profit voluntary welfare organization (VWO) Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society. The building is a house to Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities and has lecture halls where multi-religious dialogues are encouraged, focusing on promoting inter-racial and inter-religious understanding.
The temple has a design based on Chinese historical architecture, but also utilizes contemporary technology to arrive at their objectives. According to the Thye Hua Kwan society’s chairman Lee Kim Siang in an interview for The Straits Times, the temple will also have digital tablets displaying different religious texts as information to the visitors. For him and the society, “to have a religion doesn’t mean you cannot have a wide worldview”.
To emphasize the religious nature of the building, LimeLight Atelier was engaged. In this lighting design scheme, the concept was borrowed from the religious connection with candlelight and from the gentleness and mystery of the moonlight. By using LED with warm and diffuse light, the edifice itself acquired a relaxing and calm nature. This created an external ambiance of privacy and sensitivity.
The same was used to create a more living atmosphere and drawing attention to the architectural details. Directional light draws our attention on the sharp corners of the roof, the lifting tilt ridges of the sweeping tiled roofs, one of the main roof typologies found in Chinese Architecture. The horizontal granite balustrades were lit from below with tightly integrated luminaires that matched the colours of the balustrades. This guide and help the viewers to understand and appreciate the detailing of the building. On the interior, indirect light was used on the prayer halls to create visual comfort to the visiting prayers. To highlight the deity sculptures, museum lighting techniques were used. The focus was to create an ambiance to enhance the multi-religious and multi-cultural experience, instead of obscuring it with the use of intense directional light. With a good lighting scheme, the edifice could reach an aesthetic that is built on simplicity and reference for a spiritual experience.