The Thye Hua Kwan Temple is Thye Hua Kwan moral society’s first temple in Singapore. It features a traditional Chinese architecture with a modern touch located on a suburban arterial road, surrounded by high rise residential apartments. The newly built temple not only serves as an abode for Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius deities; but also promotes inter racial and inter religious understanding. The illumination concept offers a modest yet emblematic celebration to the architecture and culture; it was borrowed on the basic element of candles which is a key element of religion. It aims to seek to minimise its impact with restraint and sensitivity to the surrounding. THK temple was imagined as a living architecture of an embodied light when dusk falls; where the illumination emphasises the lightness of the lifting tilt ridges of the sweeping tiled roofs, one of the main typology of roofs found in Chinese Architecture. The horizontal granite balustrades at level three and four, was celebrated with tightly integrated lights that matches the colours of the balustrades; one of the challenge faced was the insufficient space on the parapet to sit the luminaires, which was technically resolved with a light bending film, to direct the illuminance to the right location. The intricately crafted granite “dragon heads” post top, are expressed with the usage of encapsulated lamps, that mimics the poetic movement of the flame of the candle; making the architecture mesmerisingly alive, with its constant movement and dramatic play of lights. The symbolic ornamentations of the mystical dragons and phoenixes, commonly found in Chinese architecture’s roof top, are amplified through many mock-ups conducted. All luminaires are painted to match the colour code of the glazed roof tiles, to ensure visual cohesiveness both during the day as well as night. The overall façade lighting intensity and luminance, are appropriately tuned and dimmed, in achieving the desired holistic balance of a gentle illumination; like soft moonlight radiating onto the building. Upon entering the prayer hall at level one, devotees and visitors can feel the depth and character of the space, with it’s light and shade ambience, that prevents it being too austere. This technique entirely utilising warm indirect lighting on its circular slight undulating aluminium ceiling.
The symbolic red Chinese character in the middle of the ceiling represents heart; one of the key principles of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society. They are accentuated with luminaires integrated within the granite cladded columns at the four corners of the space; that maximise tilts and sufficient candela output. Feature illumination draws the eye towards the end of the hall, which houses 108 deities statues on a three tier altar. The rear of the prayer hall at level 4, leads to a tranquil landscape courtyard, gently illuminated, with accentuation to the foliages, much like the scene off Chinese traditional painting, designed in calmness of a habitation for reflection or meditation. The ensemble of the interior and landscape spaces was built on simplicity, balancing modest illumination with reverence for the spiritual spaces.