Chithurst Monastery

This impressive edifice serves as the central hub for the local Buddhist community in Midhurst, characterized by its use of medieval crown post roof trusses resembling an aisled barn. The intricacies of the cranked and tapered tie beams and jowled main posts stand out. The estate provided curved stock for the braces, which were carefully dried over years to ensure tight joints post-shrinkage during frame construction.

Timber’s inherent beauty is unparalleled, evoking its origins in a unique way. Chithurst Cloisters, accomplished in four phases over 12 years as funding from The British Sangha Trust permitted, is a serene and captivating space. A haven for monks and laypeople alike, it exudes tranquility and renewal. Special recognition goes to client representatives Nick Scott and Sam Ford, architect Andrew Yeates from Eco Arc, and the monks and nuns of Chithurst Buddhist Community. A dream project, it fittingly integrates with the landscape and fosters a sense of place – a shared achievement among architect, builder, and carpenter.

The adjacent Meditation Hall (Dharma Hall) is visible to the left, offering a secluded meeting spot for meditation participants. The incorporation of cranked and tapered tie beams and traditional King Post Trusses, along with jointed balustrades, adds to the harmonious aesthetic. The curved aspect of the structure necessitated crafting top plates and ridge beams from specially curved timber sections, requiring meticulous timber selection.

The choice to omit roofing felt allows the natural character of roof battens and clay tiles to shine. Extensive eaves and plinths protect the frame from the elements, ensuring durability. The entrance from the car park showcases a functional yet ornate sling braced truss, maintaining headroom without a tie beam at plate level.

Regular repetition of trusses maintains a rhythm of structure that enhances the oak framing as a construction system. The bell tower, a part of a later phase, echoes daily practices. The collaboration between client, architect, and carpenter has resulted in an incredibly successful and inspiring project.

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