Title: ProYoga Academy
Location: São João da Madeira, Portugal
Author: Tiago Reis de Oliveira
Category: Collective Places
Yoga is a physical, spiritual and mental discipline that aims to transform body and mind.
ProYoga Academy has been conceived as an architectonic structure to promote the sustainable practice of this singular discipline. A spatial device designed to enhance a feeling of serenity into its inhabitants. The space is located in the ground floor of a five-storey building in a small city near Oporto called São João da Madeira. The client has chosen an existing empty space for commercial purposes with 120m2 with a separated toilet area and a solitary column.
A simple sequence of steps lead to the final result:
1. Convert an empty space into a place of introspection.
2. The program was embraced as an intimate journey, where artifical light guides the steps of each inhabitant, from entrance hall to the practice room.
3. Materials were used as ignition points for senses: wood, ceramic and plasterboard define boundaries and spaces.
4. Light and mirrored walls set the atmosphere for a quiet practice, where reflection assumes a decisive role.
The concept behind the architectonic process was guided by the principle of simplicity, to obtain something that could reveal a sense of elementary and preciousness. This was our goal.
ProYoga Academy is a place of life, a place for gathering and well-being. One might say that this place stands for its inhabitants as a gateway to calmness, a door that invites each and everyone to enhance their inner and outer vision. Its architecture functions as a propeller for collective life and individual introspection. The spatial organization was carefully assembled to silently support a collective ritual: from entrance to exit, each inhabitant is invited to participate in a sequence of moments, from introspection exercises to collective interaction. Something simple, yet crucial, as breathing exercises can be simultaneously an individual and a collective experience in ProYoga Academy. Drinking Thai at the end of a class around the service ceramic counter become a powerful collective experience. Inhabitants comfortably share their ideas, feelings, words, laughs, creating an intimate bond between them. Architecture plays a crucial role in this magnificent effect, mainly because of its almost neutral presence. Mirrored walls capture movement and life inside ProYoga Academy offering new perspectives to its inhabitants, a communal spatial experience is shared whenever a new class takes place. And the cycle of moments repeats itself again and again, always the same but never equal, even thought the inhabitants are always different as showed by the mirrored walls.
The self-confidence and serenity of the space derives from the direct matter-of-fact attitude and transparency with which speaks of its function and use. ProYoga Academy is a collective place for life and gathering, a place to be.