“When I first learned about the project working with the nuns, I felt rather uneasy. However, you have turned out to be the best client anyone can ever ask for!” The construction team that designed and built South Lotus Hall for the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute remarked.
The construction of South Lotus Hall took seventeen months, and one might wonder the kinds of challenges that a Western construction team had to face in order to deliver a piece of architecture blended with elements from both the East and West.
Challenges included managing a tight schedule and constructing during long winters with heavy snowfall. Also, the design of South Lotus Hall incorporates many Chinese elements and that means the installment of every part requires extra effort and consideration. For instance, the Japanese style sliding door in the meditation room and the Chinese flair wall lamps are both foreign to ordinary Westerners.
The architect also incorporated the use of a number of columns into the design; however, the planks used to construct the columns were not wide enough. When the planks experienced changes in temperature, there would be unsightly cracks showing between the planks. The construction workers came up with an ingenious idea which was to add a section of metal between the planks. Not only did the solution solve the issue of cracks, but it actually turned out to be quite a piece of artwork!
Throughout the duration of construction, the entire team worked tirelessly to overcome various challenges such as a tight schedule and adverse weather condition. The nun who is the liaison for the construction project expressed gratitude to the construction team, “We are extremely grateful for everything your team has done for us!”. The construction worker jokingly responded, “There were indeed moments when we wanted to cry when working on this project!”.
The nuns at the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute and the construction team became quite acquainted with each other during the project, and the nuns learned that the owner of the construction team had great enthusiasm for charity work. The construction team frequented a fast food restaurant weekly, and the owner donated the money spent to a charity group for the protection of children. Additionally, the owner made donations to other charities in the name of Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute during different holidays, and all he said was, “I know that you would love to see more kind acts in the world.”
As the construction of South Lotus Hall drew to a close, the construction workers made a scrapbook for us, detailing the process of the project from the beginning to the end. On the front page, it printed, “It was an honor to be part of the endeavor in establishing a home in PEI. Best of the luck to your journey in the future!”
Accompanied the completion of South Lotus Hall is the bridge of friendship that stands eternally.