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For over twenty years we have been gifted with the presence of the Buddhist monks and nuns who have so gracefully alighted in Leverett, Massachusetts. Their beautiful Peace Pagoda provides a constant reminder that world peace is achievable. Their living quarters need attention, however. The existing house—poorly built to begin with—has become infested with carpenter ants and termites, making it structurally unsound and beyond rehabilitation.
Two years ago, we were asked by Kato Shonin if we could create a design for their Peace Pagoda community center — a single large structure for living, dining, gatherings and meditations. The building we originally designed resembles a large barn and is about 10,000 square feet. At $200 per square foot, it would cost about $2 million. We concluded that, given limited funding, undertaking such an ambitious project was probably unrealistic. So we decided to ‘fragment’ the building into its various components to enable us to build it incrementally — one building at a time, as construction money became available.
The current design for the complex includes housing for the monks and for those on retreat, as well as a kitchen, dining room, and assembly hall. The buildings are arranged to define an intimate Japanese garden, including a small pond. Some of the standing seam metal roofs are properly pitched to accommodate photovoltaic panels — enough to produce about 10 kilowatts, exceeding the electrical needs for the buildings. Also we are planning on drilling several deep wells for geothermal heat, evenly distributed using radiant tubing under the floor where people will sit on pillows. All natural, non-toxic, locally produced, sustainable materials will be used for the construction.
Your support is greatly appreciated.