Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Designer, Land Use Planner, Environmental Observer

Saturday, July 4, 2009

American Folk Victorian meets Japanese Temple

How do you fit a Japanese tradition from the 1200's into an 1850 historic building in California? The melding of the two has fascinated me for seven years. The Santa Cruz Zen Center is housed in what might have been an old store. The building is a simple "Folk Victorian" style, but it sits in the middle of the Mission Hill Historic District and is across the street from the only remains of Mission Excaltacion de la Santa Cruz. It has been used as a Zen Center for over thirty years, but recently got a severe renovation. Only the stud framing for the walls and the exterior siding was kept intact. All the remaining portions of the building were rebuilt. The structure was literally lifted in the air, while a slab was poured below it.

As seen in the photos , the front is intact and the character transforms as you walk past the side of the building and then onto the porch at the rear. The entry is a narrow walkway on the left side of the building. The sign is that little horizontal rectangle at the corner. Very Zen.

Rounding the corner, you glimpse the carpentry of the porch and the structure of the garden

The rear of the building begins the transformation into a Japanese Zen temple - perhaps one that may be found in a small village.

The details reflect the image. Carefully detailed by the carpenters, not the architect for the restoration, you can get the "temple image" without the incredible woodwork of a standard temple in Japan.

The garden and interior perfect the transformation....

"Form does not differ from Emptiness,
Emptiness does not differ from Form,
Form itself is Emptiness,
Emptiness itself is Form."


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