Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW and Chancellor of University of Sydney, Premier of New South Wales, Barry O'Farrell, Wollongong Lord Mayor Council, Gordon Bradbery OA and Gareth Ward, MP, Member for Kiama are among the invited dignitaries.
“A Piling Ceremony is a tradition in many countries,” explained Venerable Miao You, NTI’s Board Secretary. “It is held to bless the project and mark the start of construction. This project has been in the design and pre-construction phase for a number of years and we are very excited to see building commence. We are looking forward to creating this education and cultural centre in the heart of the Illawarra to serve the community, national and international students, lecturers, researchers, visiting academics, tourists, businesses and artists.”
Wollongong City Council donated the 15 hectare parcel of land – located at Wollongong’s suburb of Berkeley, near the award-winning Nan Tien Temple – in 2001. The last 11 years has seen the evolution of a Master Development Plan for the project that will create an architecturally unique and innovative education, community and art facility.
Architects, Woods Bagot, describe their key design inspiration as “the lotus flower which rises and falls with the sun.” This key Buddhist symbol is one aspect of the design, which will have a range of features that reflect NTI’s Buddhist philosophy, including being “devoid of excess and materialism”, “a strong connection to its environment” and a “seamless transition between the (Nan Tien) Temple and education facility.”
Stage One of this regional landmark will commence this year and is scheduled for completion in 2014. It will cater for 300 students, and will expand to cater for 3000 students, offering a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate educational programs in Humanities, Economic and Business Studies, Social Sciences, Religions Studies and Asian Studies grounded in Buddhist wisdom. The new custom-designed NTI Art Gallery will provide a home to significant artifacts, artworks, and local and international exhibitions.
The Piling Ceremony will be one significant activity on the day, which will include the Institute’s Inaugural Graduation Ceremony for NTI postgraduate students who have completed a Certificate and Diploma of Applied Buddhist Studies. NTI will also host an Information Day, designed to recruit new students. NTI’s new Art Exhibition will also be launched – ‘unfolding’ is the first in a series of exhibitions that explore and develop the conversation: ‘Australian Artists in the Asian Century’.
Nan Tien Institute (NTI) is Australia’s first tertiary institution grounded in Applied Buddhist wisdom and values.
NTI is a government accredited higher education provider that currently offers a postgraduate Masters, Diploma and Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies and special interest programs.
NTI’s vision is to make a unique contribution as Australia’s Buddhist University, providing innovative teaching and learning in Humanities, Social Sciences and Management and research in Applied Buddhist Studies. It aims to be recognised internationally for its outstanding location, unique teaching program, world renowned lecturers and researchers, and high-achieving and inspiring students.