JSW/D Architects

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Current Projects

Abhayagiri Monastery Phases II and III, Redwood Valley, CA

Abhayagiri III

The Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley was founded in 1995 and is home to about 20 monks and an ever-growing lay community. This project consists of three phases: site planning and programming for the new main cloister area, design of an off-the-grid community building for the monks, and design of all the structures in the main cloister area, including a reception/dining hall, large kitchen, administrative offices, guest quarters, library and support spaces.

The community building, located on a remote hillside, is designed as an off-the-grid structure. The building is oriented for maximum daylight, views and most importantly winter passive solar heat gain. Eight roof-mounted solar thermal panels (35 megajoules capacity) provide both radiant floor heat and hot water for the bathrooms year-round. During overcast or rainy winter days a wood-fired "Aquatherm" boiler supplements the passive system. A ground-mounted 3,000-watt photovoltaic system, which provides enough electricity in the summer, is supplemented by a micro-hydro turbine powered by a seasonal stream.

The buildings in the main cloister area (approximately 14,000 square feet) are arranged on top of a knoll overlooking the valley below. Placed between existing oak trees and arranged around a landscaped central courtyard, all structures are connected by a covered walkway.


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