A Zen Buddhist community (sangha) purchased a landmark Christian Science church on a prominent site in Denver, facing Speer Boulevard. The church’s main space was an auditorium with a sloped floor and rows of fixed seating stepping down toward a stage. The sangha wished to alter the building to accommodate its spiritual practice—daily meditation and periodic retreats—while maintaining part of the auditorium for community-related programs and for rental to local groups.
PB+A’s design essentially placed a Buddhist temple within the original structure. The Zendo (meditation hall) occupies the upper central part of the auditorium, and its subsidiary spaces are arranged as terraces on both sides, stepping down with the original floor. This approach maintained the landmark exterior unchanged and satisfied the sangha’s functional requirements with relatively minor structural interventions, at reasonable cost.