Windhover Contemplative Center, Stanford University

Architect: Aidlin Darling Design

Location: Stanford, California

A small haven of serenity on a vast, busy campus, the Windhover Contemplative Center by Aidlin Darling Design is a recipient of the 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture.

A small haven of serenity on a vast, busy campus, the facility is a composition of art, nature and architecture whose sole purpose is peaceful enjoyment.

Intended to promote and inspire personal renewal, the center houses a set of paintings inspired by the birds and landscape of the naturally resplendent campus. With an oak grove as its neighbor, the building is a vessel for the paintings and for the thoughtful repose of university students, faculty and staff.

"The building erases the boundaries between outside and inside and so successfully." - Jury comment

A glass wall on the building's east side opens to views through the grove to a sculpture garden. Natural light and ventilation infuse the interior with elements of the world outside, and finishes such as flooring were kept dark to minimize the intrusion of artifice into users' experience. The plashing of fountains and louvered skylights above bring in filtered light; thick, rammed-earth walls contribute to the sense of being in a secluded, protective oasis.

"Very nice use of the site and interior to create a space that provides equal focus on the project as well as the landscape." - Jury comment

Even the building’s systems contribute to the goal of quiet contemplation. Heating and cooling comes from a radiant system in the floor, and because ventilation is a natural flow-through from north-facing intake to south-facing outlet, there are no noisy or vibrating mechanicals to interfere with the quietude.

Additional information

Acoustical Consultant: Charles Salter Associates

Daylighting Consultants: Loisos + Ubbelohde

Electrical Design-Build: Elcor, Inc.

Engineer – Civil: BKF Engineers

Engineer – Structural: Rutherford & Chekene

General Contractor: SC Builders. Inc.

Landscape Architect: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

Lighting Designer: Auerbach Glasow French

Mechanical Design-Build: Air Systems, Inc.

Rammed Earth Contractor: Rammed Earth Works

Security: Guidepost Solutions


2016 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

Rand Elliott, FAIA (Chair), Elliott + Associates Architects, Oklahoma City

Ruth Baleiko, AIA, The Miller Hull Partnership LLP, Seattle

Barbara Bestor, AIA, Bestor Architecture, Los Angeles

James Slade, AIA, Slade Architecture, New York City

Lisa Smeltzer, State of Louisiana Facility Planning & Control, Baton Rouge

Image credits


Aidlin Darling Design

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Matthew Millman Photography

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Matthew Millman Photography

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Matthew Millman Photography

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Matthew Millman Photography

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Matthew Millman Photography