Windhover commended for providing a serene oasis on campus

Painting at Windhover
The Windhover center features paintings by artist Nathan Oliveira. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

Windhover, a contemplative center at Stanford designed around large abstract paintings of birds in flight, has won several design awards in recent months.

Windhover, which opened last fall and is available for use by members of the Stanford community, features four paintings created by the late Nathan Oliveira, an internationally acclaimed artist who taught at Stanford for more than three decades. The paintings are part of his “Windhover Series.”

In giving Windhover a 2015 Citation Award in April, the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects praised several design aspects, including the landscaped stone path that leads to its front door: “The extended progression to the building’s entry through a long private garden helps visitors transition from the energy of the campus and shed the outside world before entering the sanctuary.”

The institute also praised the way designers and architects used water, in conjunction with landscaping, to promote contemplation, noting that fountains in the main gallery and the courtyard provide ambient sound, and a still reflecting pool at the rear of the building reflects the surrounding trees.

The American Society of Landscape Architects gave Windhover a Merit Award in April saying: “The design capitalizes on the building’s unique context – adjacent to an existing oak woodland – to provide a series of spaces that allow visitors to experience Oliveira’s painting in concert with an inspiring natural setting.”

The Northern California Chapter of the International Interior Design Association gave Windhover a Merit Award in March. At its annual black-tie awards gala held in June in Chicago, the International Interior Design Association gave Windhover its Best of Competition award. In an announcement, the association said:

“The Windhover Contemplative Center is exquisitely designed and provides a serene and relaxing environment within Stanford University where students and visitors can relax and collect their thoughts, in an aesthetically pleasing setting. With the use of filtered lights and natural colored earth walls, Aidlin Darling Design has created a true sanctuary within a busy and bustling college campus, which is an incredibly difficult task.”