Living in Paradise – The Dukkar Apartments

8 June 2013 - 6:09pm Comments Off

Since April 2012, the Kechara Forest Retreat has been a hub of activity. Initially, two containers were set up as temporary accommodation for Rinpoche and his private staff. These containers, called the temporary abode, were set up in an L shape with a canopy over the empty space between the containers.

The initial two containers (at the back and on the right), with Rinpoche giving a talk to a group of students in the space between the containers.

Additional accommodation for male volunteers was set up in a temporary structure, which had tents in them. This was called ‘Tent City’, and was in the space between the temporary abode and the iconic tree.

“Tent City”

Eventually, more cabins were added to the temporary abode, bringing the number of cabins to seven, including one for showers/bathrooms.

Recently, as more staff have been coming to work at Kechara Forest Retreat, there has been an urgent need for more accommodation. There have also been constant requests for guests who wished to come and volunteer.

As such, Tsem Rinpoche suggested that Ladrang Liaison JP Thong build something fast, comfortable and inviting. Rinpoche said, “Let’s use containers like in Findhorn.”

JP thought it was a great idea and that it’d be fun to stay in containers!

This was how Dukkar Apts was conceptualised. JP requested one of Rinpoche’s students, Mr Thierry Janssens, a Belgian architect who has worked in Southeast Asia, to help him design the layout of Dukkar Apts. Within a few days, the layout was finalized. JP received Rinpoche’s blessings and immediately engaged the contractors to commence.

In total, there are 32 containers, with 30 for accommodation and 2 for storage. Of these, 22 containers are for full-time staff, members and friends. The additional eight containers have been allocated for Sangha (monks or nuns) and special guests. Twelve communal bathrooms will serve the entire complex. The containers are stacked in double-storey configurations to save space, and have mezzanine floors with metal staircases for access.

There is a roof over the entire premises to protect against the heavy rains, with mosquito netting all around. There will be a communal kitchen, dining area and lounge area also. This cosy complex is dedicated to sincere staff and volunteers who wish to contribute to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s vision and the growth of Dharma in the region.

First container home is laid!

And we put another container on top!

The roof goes over the entire complex

There is much activity in the corridors of the double storey cabins.

Welding metal frames to hold polycarbonate sheets and mosquito netting all around Dukkar apts. This is to keep the rain away and thousands of insects that are attracted to light at night.

The metal decks are lined up to be installed as roofing for Dukkar apts.

The staircases to the containers on top

The roof over Dukkar apts is taking shape fast!

The inside of one of the guest cabins

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