Serenity and enlightenment await Buddhist devotees with the opening of their new award-nominated Christchurch centre.
The International Buddhist Association centre in Riccarton Road, designed by Christchurch architectural firm Warren and Mahoney, includes a vegetarian cafe, art gallery, library and prayer hall.
The Christchurch president of the Buddha's Light Association, Almeric Cheng, said the centre's facade of Indian sandstone and bronze statues was modelled on the Dunhuang caves, a series of over 400 ancient Buddhist temples cut into a rock face near the Taklamakan Desert in north-west China.
The Buddha Hall, the main prayer room, conforms to an old Chinese proverb, "If you open the door you can see the mountain", with the grand central Buddha gazing at the Port Hills, he said.
The $4.5 million building was constructed to the latest "green" standards, with sustainable timbers, many windows for natural light and solar heating.