Newlin House, Houston, Texas (2016-2019)
Won Buddhism is a modern and reformed type of Buddhism established in Korea in 1916. Its primary goal is to hone the use of the mind toward enlightenment and equilibrium. There are several congregations around the world and a few of them in the United States. The one in Houston is the largest congregation in Texas and it is located on a property twelve miles west of the city’s center. An existing one-story house, which served as their meeting place, was removed to make way for the new 6000 sq. ft. building. The two story wood frame and masonry structure houses the Dharma Hall (meditation, prayer room), a small gallery and library, some offices and the minister’s house on the second level. The building is placed within the coordinates of three existing live oak trees, integrating the beauty of these trees as an essential and complementary design element. The Dharma Hall is a double height room and the centerpiece of the complex. It is the place where services and ceremonies take place, a carefully lighted volume where the faith’s symbolic figure of a golden circle / ring takes center stage as the image of truth and enlightenment.