A Spiritual Retreat into Solace and Peace
Bonnevaux Meditation Retreat Centre
Bonnevaux, Poitiers, France

The 65-hectare heritage site was chosen for its serenity and seclusion, yet it remains accessible, with an international airport close by and located just one and a half hours by train from Paris. The works include the alteration of existing listed buildings and the construction of new structures designed to be sensitive to both local context and global environment.

 This campus of peace and meditation incorporates various buildings – all named after their original function:  The Abbey (L’Abbaye), the community home; The Barn (La Grange), conference facilities; The Stables (L’Écurie), the main guesthouse including the site’s central reception; and Le Village Contemplatif, private ‘cells’ and gardens for self-contemplation and rest. An existing chapel to the east is preserved as the site’s spiritual focus.

The Masterplan positions landscaping and these new buildings to define a variety of places; some intimate and private for self-contemplation, others larger and public for group sharing – all engendering a sense of community.

Core to the Centre of Peace’s planning is the buildings’ connection with nature – landscaped gardens, vegetable plots and the natural surroundings, allowing in light and providing inspiring views onto a picturesque lake. Both exteriors and interiors have been created with the sole  function of supporting meditation – and to do so in the purest and most efficient way.