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New Buddhist temple, community center proposed for Van Ness

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The modern monastery would be sandwiched between an apartment building and a church. (Rendering: Skidmore Owings & Merrill)

Plans are in progress to demolish an existing two-story building that is home to a Buddhist community center, and in its place construct a five-story multi-use center that would house monastic students.

1750 Van Ness Ave. is currently home to a modest structure that contains the American Buddhist Cultural Society. The temple is connected to a bookstore that is open to the public.

But if all goes according to plan, the temple may soon be undergoing a radical change. The American Buddhist Cultural Society has secured architects from prestigious firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill to design their future center, complete with a dormitory, meditation courtyard, teahouse, kitchen, and activity hall. The project will be hidden between a church and an apartment building behind a highly modern facade, as pictured above.


This is not the first attempt The American Buddhist Cultural Society has made to renovate the space—plans were first filed with Planning in 2003, then canceled. Paperwork for the project was again filed in 2004, then withdrawn in 2005.

No development activity took place for 11 years until a Preliminary Planning Assessment was filed with Planning on Dec. 20 for the project. It’s currently under review.

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