Dharma Rain Zen Center


Dharma Rain Zen Center

Meditation Hall in Portland, OR

The meditation hall, or sodo, marks the first phase of a new campus for the Dharma Rain Zen Buddhist community.

Sited on an urban lot near Rocky Butte in East Portland, the project brief called for a low-budget, long-lasting, and high-performing building to accommodate the growing DRZC congregation. The building's massing and roof form echo Japanese temple precedents, while conventional American materials and construction assemblies root the project in its context.

Though simple in design, the execution has been rather complex. Every stage of development has had its challenges, from building on a former dump site, to pausing construction between fundraising stages. Congregation members have played a vital role in this project, providing extra crew for landscaping and construction.

Michael has been an incredible gift to our project: A 6000sf commercial-grade assembly and cooking/dining building, situated on a landfill, for a Zen temple, on a budget—not the easiest project. His vision for the meditation hall accorded very closely with our values and goals—integrated with nature, energy efficient, reminiscent of formal Japanese temple architecture, resonant with the northwest...The drawings have proved simple to build from, accurate, and requiring very little revision. And Michael has been great to work with— supportive of substantial amounts of collaboration, and consistent and exacting in his review of work in progress (he even caught a framing error from a Facebook photo).

General Contractor: B&G Builders

Photographer: Laurie Black