Jodo Shinshu Center

Berkeley, California

This historic Art Deco building was originally a car franchise once owned by the same man who owned the legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit. The challenge was to incorporate the headquarters of a national Japanese Buddhist organization into a former car showroom and repair shop. Hayashida Architects worked with the Berkeley Landmark Commission, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and with the Japanese community locally and from abroad, to create a design that had to accommodate many functional needs within a constantly fluctuating budget, and that would also meet the approval of differing political groups. Over the course of many months, our team held numerous meetings with the clients’ committee groups to create the building program, to assist in fundraising and presentation to the extended national and international affiliates, and to navigate the design through the design review, bidding, and construction. The final design added structural reinforcement to the entire existing structure, an additional two stories to the south building, a 12,000 sf underground garage, and multiple elevators to make the entire facility accessible. The facility houses a main lobby, a bookstore, a multi-purpose “kodo” room with training, offices, classrooms, a conference room, a library, a research and study hall, a small dining room and commercial kitchen, and dormitories and apartments for the staff, students and guests.

I think the Jodo Shinshu Center is wonderful and elegant. It is well designed in terms of the interior space. I think it was a real challenge for Hayashida Architects to take a building that had originally been constructed for such a different use and make it into a building that combines so many different functions.

Dr. Richard Payne
Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies

Hayashida Architects retained the historic Art Deco exterior throughout, and inserted an interior scheme with a serene Japanese aesthetic featuring natural wood and light. The new second floor addition features a two storey atrium Japanese meditation rock garden, with a glass skylight to provide the second and third floor dormitories with a special setting of light and nature. Woodworkers and installers from Kyoto, Japan, were brought in to create and install the complex altar pieces of the kodo room. The Durant Street entrances are enhanced with the addition of a Japanese mon gate which opens to a Japanese Garden.

You all made the Jodo Shinshu Center project go so smoothly and almost flawless by not waiving the red flag. I believe that the completion of the project proves the expertise of the entire staff, as I think it really has turned out beautifully.

Peter Eres
Interform: Commercial Interior Design

In planning this state of the art facility, all design development decisions were made with sustainability in mind. The mechanical and plumbing systems were designed to be 20% below building code requirements, and energy and daylighting modeling was performed to access life cycle costs and to maximize natural lighting. Materials with recycled content were specified for the finishes. The general contractor, DPR Construction, was able to recycle and salvage more than 93% of the materials from the existing structure during construction.