Monastic Heritage Center: A Destination with a Monastic Experience
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit has commissioned Jones Pierce Studios to transform an old barn compound into a public gathering space called the Monastic Heritage Center. This center is slated as the premier destination for Rockdale County, near Conyers, Georgia. What is now a cluster of brick buildings, dating back to the early 1900’s, will be stabilized and renovated to be opened as a Monastic Center.
Monastic Heritage Center Site
The current site includes two prominent barns. One of the barns housed the monks when they first purchased the property in the 1940s. Guests will be offered a glimpse of Monastic life as they experience the cloistered compound and traverse the Prayer Path across the fields to the Church and Retreat House.
To create this destination as a meaningful experience, Jones Pierce proposed the introduction of the cloister. The cloister will not only be used as an organizing element but as a historical icon representative of monasteries. Points of interest will include the Monastic Center , the Abbey Store & Café, the Bonsai Garden Center, and the integration of a Bonsai garden .
The Monastic Center will contain the history of monasticism and this Monastery, along with an introduction to monastic life. The Bonsai Garden Center will display and sell several of the trees labored over and sculpted by the Monks. The Bonsai Garden will contain prized specimens collected and nurtured over decades. These will provide shady, calm respites for visitors to read a purchased book or enjoy a snack from the Café.
Perhaps the most influential of our 10 principals has been that of prescribed sustainability. While not requiring LEED certification, sustainability is also a key factor embraced by the monks. In this project we will achieve a level of sustainability mostly through the adaptive re-use of existing structures and the salvaging of materials. There will also be components of storm water mitigation through landscaped swales. Operable windows augmented by fans and shading devices will help achieve natural ventilation. We will also maximize the use of daylighting for illumination. Finally, the interest and money generated by the new public gathering area will help sustain the monk’s way of life as they continue to live and work off the land.
Another Jones Pierce principle that is playing a key role in this project is our dedication to teamwork and collaboration with our clients. In the spring, the Monastery selected and hired Gay Construction to generate construction estimates to assist in assessing cost of the development. The team has worked hard through the summer to identify exceptional expenses. They also suggest and qualify alternatives to define the final scope of work in meeting the prescribed budget. Above are images of the proposed final design from which the Monastery is fundraising for the total construction cost.
Check out the completed project here: