Stanford University’s proximity to the hotbed of the California technology industry drives its students to succeed; it also may be a reminder of potential failure in a competitive world. The school’s Windhover Contemplative Center, which broke ground at the end of July, aims to offer a refuge from the pressure stemming from either possibility with a building by San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design that is as immersive as the academic environment surrounding it. “The opportunity is to unify art, architecture, landscape, and spirituality in one environment,” says firm partner David Darling.
The center, slated for completion in the spring of 2014, will sit on land once devoted to a parking lot at the western edge of the campus. A long, narrow site was a convenient constraint; placed end to end, the building’s three rooms will house five of late Stanford art professor Nathan Oliveira’s large-scale Windhover series paintings, which range from 15 to 30 feet in length.