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Buddhist Culture
on a Historic Site

Soka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist Culture Center
Washington DC, USA

Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue is home to the second-oldest Buddhist community in the Washington area.

HOK designed this Buddhist Culture Center for Soka Gakkai International-USA, which needed a larger facility to accommodate its growing membership. It features office, meeting, reception and classroom space, a 200-seat main sanctuary called the Gohozon Room and a 50-seat sanctuary.

The culture center is adjacent to the Embassy of the Cape Verde Islands, which is in a 1920s home listed in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites. HOK’s design allows the culture center to coexist with this landmark and the other neighboring embassies.

The natural materials preserve a residential feel and reflect traditions of the Buddhist culture. The main sanctuary’s 2,500-sq.-ft. garden roof helps with stormwater management and supports the Buddhist faith’s respect for life and stewardship of the earth.

HOK’s landscape design conveys the values of Buddhism by creating a peaceful, serene space in the entry plaza. Flowering cherry trees, shrubs, and perennials frame the space, while a small fountain trickles into a river rock bed.


9,000 sq. ft. / 840 sq. m.


Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Master Planning


Buildings magazine – Project Innovations