Concept and Design
In the UK we are used to kutis being small and simple constructions, however, since this needs to be a nursing facility as well as a dwelling, the diagram here shows that this is a single storey building with full wheelchair-accessibility, plus some additional storage space in the roof area. This building has been designed with a number of guiding principles in mind:
During the development stages the kuti has often been referred to as the Luang Por Kuti, and whether it is finally called that or actually occupied by Luang Por Sumedho or not, it reflects an appreciation of what he, and other elders, have given to this community over the years. It stands to reason therefore that the nursing kuti is built to high standards, with great attention to detail. A time-frame for the life expectancy of the brick, oak-frame and roof shell of 200 years has been mooted. This is much longer than the 100 years of modern buildings.
Care of the sick and dying
The nursing kuti is designed to meet the full care needs of disabled or dying sangha members. Apart from enhancing a sense of well-being even as these natural processes unfold, the nursing kuti will enable the community to look after its own members and reduce the need for physically disabled or unwell sangha members to spend long periods in other facilities or in-patient services.
Seclusion, but still within the community
Being a detached building (and they always cost more per square metre to build than buildings with a bigger mass), the nursing kuti will provide ease and seclusion for the residents at the same time as enabling carers and visitors to come and go without entering the main sangha accommodation.
The community was keen to have an energy efficient building. This kuti is a Passive House, about which more is described below. It has become clear that the use of ‘energy’ is a complex subject, and in the case of this building the creation of energy-efficiency means that costs are made up-front, that is to say included in the construction, so that future running costs are reduced.
In the first ten years hardly any maintenance should be required. This is in marked distinction to the wooden buildings at Amaravati which require a 5-year rolling programme of total repainting and ever more input to remain serviceable. After the first ten years a little maintenance will be required to care for the wood in the kuti but the outside of the windows are aluminium and weatherproof, and the building itself is brick. The insides of the windows are oak.
Consistent with the Amaravati Long Term Plan
The nursing kuti is the first building to be built under the aegis of the Long Term Plan. It has provided a model both for ways of working and as a test-bed for design and quality. Visually the building supports the styles reflected in the Temple, through the use of green oak on the inside and compatible brick on the outside. As the Long Term Plan is likely to take many years to complete, requiring the rebuilding of most of the existing buildings, the style has be coherent, rather than patchwork.