The first stone we lay should be religious.
Its Arts and Crafts inspired design sets the Krishnamurti Centre sensitively within an old apple orchard, deftly marrying beauty and function. The building captures a sense of place, thanks to the skill and vision of professor of architecture Keith Critchlow, using materials found in Hampshire’s rural architecture, such as local flint, oak beams, clay tile and handmade brick. Krishnamurti helped select these fine materials. Informed by aspects of the human body and sacred geometry, the building inspires and uplifts; the intention being that the very building itself elicits dignity, quietude and perhaps, awe. The structure unfolds from the quiet room, with its clean lines and plain walls, with symmetry, balance, and a unity that extends all the way to the ends of the two guestroom wings. Thanks to the central courtyard, around which the main rooms are placed, one can see the outdoors from anywhere in the building, usually from more than one direction, which also ensures plenty of light.
The Krishnamurti Centre is full of interesting architectural features, many of which you can learn about in the interview, article and book extract below.
Beyond the lawn was the Grove, copses and fields. It was a pleasant place and peaceful, undisturbed by passing traffic. There was great beauty and stillness.
Brockwood Park has an interesting history. Originally called Lys Farm, it was owned by Richard Smith in 1769. A long line of residents followed and, over the next 200 years, the farm gradually turned into parkland. T. Shakespeare, who made many plantations, was followed by the Earl of Malmesbury, who planted the great Cedars of Lebanon around 1800, many of which are still standing. Then came the Greenwood family who lived at Brockwood for nearly 80 years. George Greenwood planted many of the trees we see today, including the copper beeches that surround Brockwood and the sequoia in the Grove.
Krishnamurti Foundation Trust bought the house (now Brockwood Park School) with 40 acres of land in 1969. The Krishnamurti Centre is surrounded by open space in which to walk or sit. The expansive lawn has views to the woods and downs. To the north, near the entrance, is the old orchard with a secluded garden and wide hedges. Beyond is the rose garden, now informally planted, and open parkland leading to the Grove with its glades and fine trees.
It was the centre of the whole place. Every time you enter it, there is that beauty, that strange stillness. Come when you will and it will be there, full, rich and unnameable.
For many, including Krishnamurti, the Grove is the highlight of the grounds. It is situated a short walk from the Krishnamurti Centre, through the Brockwood parkland. Beyond the great sequoia are numerous mature trees, shrubs, and secluded glades. Prominent among the trees are six kinds of oak, chestnuts, conifers, the rare handkerchief tree (one of the finest examples in the UK regarding size and age), along with rhododendrons and azaleas. It is a delight to visit the Grove in spring and early summer when the ground is carpeted with snowdrops, daffodils (including dwarf), a variety of bluebells, and then the flowering shrubs are in bloom. But all year round, it is indeed a special, beautiful and peaceful place.
South Downs National Park
The Krishnamurti Centre at Brockwood Park is situated towards the western end of the South Downs National Park. This is protected countryside, well known for its rare chalk hills and panoramic views. From the Centre, a quiet lane takes one higher onto the downs at Wheely Down and onto Beacon Hill. There are many quiet footpaths near to the centre that lead one through ancient woodland, farmland and open countryside. The South Downs Way passes a few kilometres to the south of Brockwood, a 100-mile walking and cycling route stretching from Winchester to Eastbourne. The villages of Bramdean and West Meon are within easy walking distance, with the picturesque downland village of East Meon not far beyond. The Meon Valley is easily accessible from Brockwood, with its chalk stream and ancient fort at Old Winchester Hill.
The cathedral city of Winchester is an excellent place for an excursion. It was once the capital of England and, as such, is full of rich history – from the cathedral, one of the largest in Europe and with the longest nave – to the Great Hall, part of King Alfred’s castle, and Winchester College, one of the oldest schools in England. There are many shops, restaurants and coffee shops, together with a theatre and a cinema. One can also explore the quieter side streets with their independent shops, or wander through water meadows that lead to St Cross, with its medieval hospital and church.
The Krishnamurti Centre
Hampshire SO24 0LQ
Telephone: +44 (0)1962 771748
Company Registration No. 1055588
Registered Charity No. 312865
© Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd