This new Buddhist Monastery adapted the Landmark St. Patrick’s, the oldest frame church in San Francisco [c. 1860. The original structure had been relocated to several sites throughout the City. It was once again 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 as Buddhist Monastery. The monastery houses visitors from Taiwan coming to study at the adjacent Buddhist Temple. The original church hall is reused as both a public gallery space and private dining hall. While this historical front section has been restored and repurposed, a new four-story rear addition replaced an accumulation of additions at the rear. This new addition is clad with coated horizontal corrugated metal panels and has a pitched roof form that is sheared on the south and east faces. It houses guest facilities, support spaces, and a private apartment.
The visual mass of the rear addition, as seen from the street, is meant to figuratively create a “lodge” with the historical portion of the building seen as both embedded into and emerging from it. This is inspired from the cut-rock Buddhist sculptures of Dazu in central China. There, the Bodhisattvas sculptures are carved out of the shear rock face of a canyon wall and are left protected within the resulting voids.
Entry is into the gallery hall with a lotus-screened divider separating the private dining area to the back of the space. The juxtaposition of this literal Buddhist icon is seen as a transition from the lingering Christian icon of the restored former church. A new vertical circulation core flanks the cleft end of this space and creates a new internal focus for the hall behind the layers of the lotus screen. The stairs serve the dormitory style guest quarters immediately below and above along with the private top floor apartment of the Temple’s Master.