Thursday Salute to Originals: The Buddhist Temple Dragon
As we get closer and closer to Christmas, its common to see homes and buildings adorned with festive holiday decorations. Some displays are more simplistic – just a few strands of twinkle lights – while others are more extravagant (think huge inflatable lawn characters, illuminated displays timed to music, moving, blinking gobos, etc). But in another few weeks when the holiday is over, the decorations will all come down, and the architecture of the building will be back in the spotlight, no longer overshadowed by the flashy embellishments. But in some instances, decorative and whimsical design elements (unrelated to Christmas) are integrated directly into the architecture of the building, and cant simply be taken down on a whim.
Take the Buddhist Temple, Wat Samphran, in Thailand, for example. Though this building was built decades ago (it actually opened in 1985!), the uniqueness of its design is anything but dated. A 17-stories-tall Dragon spirals around the exterior of the building, creating a theatrical experience to an otherwise simplistic base structure. (Take that you wimpy strand lights!)
The dragon is more than just decorative, its integral to the function of the building. There are stairs within its body that you climb all the way to the top, but unfortunately for thrill seekers, they are in poor condition and are often closed to the public. The temple’s founder thought about building the dragon while he was meditating, so the dragon is meant to create a spiritual atmosphere for viewers.
This Thursday, we’re saluting Wat Samphran for its whimsical and theatrical form. We guarantee you won’t see this guy on your neighbor’s house this holiday season. (Although, we think a Santa hat on the Dragon might be a nice touch!)