Ojai Valley Dharma Center, Interior Remodel

ojai-valley-dharma-center.jpgIntentions: Relocate a Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center in a historic Nazarrine Church, utilizing colors and iconography to reflect the teachings and practice taking place in that center.

Functional Results: Being a historic church, there was very little storage or places for staff supporting programs to prepare.   Being an historic building, there was little we could do to alter the interior.   We used shoji screens towards the back to create a sence of a vestibule, a threshold where people could remove their jackets and shoes before entering the main practice space.   Double doors were added on either side of the front of the meditation hall allowing for privacy while working in the small kitchen, and also to close out the front entrance, which opens up onto a moderately busy intersection.   The double doors were chosen to so as not to have a large plane obstructing either views or functionality of the space.

Aesthetic Results: Large east facing windows that were covered with Nazarian iconography provided too much glare and distraction from the shrine boxes below.    We covered them with plywood, painted the plywood red, and adorned them with gold “knots of eternity”.   The center window features a Buddhist thangka (hand painted iconographic painting) that can be changed out depending on the nature of the teaching being given.   In the single oval window near the top, we placed a small statue of the Buddha, whose shadow can be seen in the above picture.    The late morning light entering through that oval provide the dramatic affect as seen in the photograph.   Other banners, photographs, statues, and along with a pronounced precision to the way things were placed and plenty of spaciousness around individual objects, added to the felt sense of the sacred.

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