The Macang Monastery and Temple in San Francisco: This project involved the renovation of an unreinforced 1895 masonry building that formerly housed a church and its conversion into a Buddhist Temple. The scope of work included the restoration of the building's architectural details, upgrading of services and transforming its iconography. It also presented the opportunity to capture the essence of the original structure. Introduction of natural light by way of a skylight monitor and new clerestory windows transforms the main hall.
The new Buddhist Monastery will adapt the Landmark St.
Patrick’s, the oldest frame church in San Francisco.The structure has been relocated to several sites throughout
the City. It will once again be moved, this time only several feet instead of
being pulled by horse miles across the City’s former sand dunes.It is fitting that its current
reincarnation is to be a Buddhist Monastery. The monastery will house visitors
from Taiwan; coming to worship at the adjacent soon-to-be completed Buddhist
Temple.The original church
hall will be reused and its historical exterior restored.A new four-story head house will replace
an accumulation of additions at the rear of the structure.The new addition will be clad with
coated vertical corrugated metal panels and have a pitched roof form.
The visual mass of the addition, as seen from the street, is
meant to figuratively create a “lodge”.The historical section will at once appear to be embedded into and emerging
from the new four-story section.This is inspired from the rock cut Buddhist sculptures of Dazu in
central China.There, the
Bodhisattvas are carved out the shear rock face of a canyon wall and are left
protected within the resulting voids.
Entry is through a lotus-cloaked vestibule. This
juxtaposition of this literal Buddhist icon is seen as a transition from the
lingering Christian icon of the restored former church exterior.The main dining hall, capable of
accommodating a 250-person banquette, fills the original structure.A new vertical circulation core flanks
the cleft end of the space.Natural light floods this division from overhead and creates a new
internal focus for the hall.The ground floor contains separate men’s and women’s dormitory style
flexible guest rooms are located on the third level.A private apartment for the Temple’s Master is located on
the top floor.