The surroundings of the Won Dharma Center in Claverack, NY look particularly serene. Which seems important since the Won Dharma Center is a gathering point and education center for Won Buddhists, a group committed to providing ” a nurturing and educational environment.” Indeed, one of the successes of Hanrahan Meyers Architects here is space that not only supports the serene surroundings, but create similarly calm interiors for meditation and contemplation.
In an interview, the architects describes the advantage of breaking the volume of the built program into smaller masses: “The clustered schemes had the most appeal as they broke down the scale of the program into five buildings and created public, outdoor gathering spaces between them.” The architects further broke down the walls of the enclosed program to ease the transition between indoors and out: “This complex of buildings is notable for its layered approach to exterior and interior spaces and the building envelopes. The outdoor spaces, decks, and wooden screens create a ‘spatial gradient’ that both engages the landscape and enriches the architectural experience. The building envelope is not simply a wall, but a series of layered, performative volumes. “