Windhover Contemplative Center
A space to experience art and spiritual renewal

Windhover Contemplative Center

The Windhover Contemplative Center, named for a series of paintings by Bay Area artist Nathan Oliveira, simultaneously functions as an art gallery, spiritual sanctuary, and contemplative garden on the busy Stanford Campus. Using Oliveira’s art as a vehicle for personal renewal, the center provides a place for students, faculty, and staff to relax and re-center.

The integrated 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 paintings in concert with an inspiring natural setting.

A collaborative approach to building and landscape shaped nearly every aspect of the design, from the carefully choreographed entry sequence; to the visual and physical permeability between interior and exterior spaces; to the interplay between architectural materials, light, and shadow. Windhover presents a new typology for sustainable institutional design, offering a lush, green sanctuary for experiencing art and fostering personal well-being.

At the core of the building, a Zen-inspired courtyard opens to both the sky above and the adjacent oak woodland, offering views of a meditative labyrinth set in the trees beyond.


Honor Award in General Design
American Society of Landscape Architects

World Landscape Architecture Award
WLA magazine

Civic Trust Award Winner
Civic Trust Awards

Honor Award
Society for College and University Planning and AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

Best of Best Award
Society of American Architects

Award of Excellence
Society of American Architects

Society of American Architects Award
Society of American Architects

American Architecture Award
Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture, Art, Design, and Urban Studies

California Council AIA Award
American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Merit Award in Design
American Society of Landscape Architects, Northern California Chapter

Best of Year Award – Outdoor Category
Interior Design magazine

Winner – Public Space Scheme
FX International Interior Design Awards


Stanford University


Aidlin Darling


Matthew Millman and Marion Brenner