Located in the restored 16th century monumental complex called Guardia di Sopra on Leonardo’s canal in Milan, the Ikeda Cultural Centre is the largest Buddhist building in Europe.

The design of the new buildings and the restoration of the protected monumental complex was entrusted to the Peia Associati studio and was completed in 4 years of work. The heart of the complex is the new auditorium/temple with a thousand seats, surrounded by water like a lotus flower. Lotus in Buddhism has a metaphorical value: “the most beautiful flower which is both fruit and seed, cause and effect, whose beauty comes from the mud in which it grows without being soiled by it.”

External views of the new built auditorium of Ikeda Cultural Centre in Milan. Photos by Beppe Raso.

The theme of landscape is intimately linked to the whole project, in particular the relationship with the canal designed by Leonardo, symbol of beauty and fertility, but also symbol of the will for transformation, change and humanistic revolution. In fact, the canal water allows the complex to be fed by hydrocarbon-free energy plants and recalls the Buddhist metaphor of the Golden Carp that swims in the river upstream to reach the source with courage and determination, to finally turn into a dragon.

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External views of the restored Guardia di Sopra monumental complex. Photos by Beppe Raso.

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