Black Forest Zendo

Several years ago we were asked wether we could design and build a traditional Japanese zendo interior. This is a Japanese meditation hall, traditionally a part of a temple complex, a building where sitting meditation is practiced. Here are some pictures that may give you an idea what such an interior looks like. In the Soto Zen sect sitting meditation or zazen as it is called, is the sole means of realizing enlightenment.


Below a picture of the Sōji-ji zendo.


We are doing this work for the Dharma Sangha a Buddhist centre in the Black Forest of southern Germany.

This project took a while to take shape but finally all the pieces have fallen into place and we are about to commence the work.

It doesn’t happen too often that you get the chance to construct such a building. It is one of these rare ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities. I have worked for this community before (client wouldn’t really be the appropriate word) and developed a good relationship with them. It is very satisfying to work for a group of people who both understand and appreciate the work we do. You can imagine that I have been looking forward to this project. The last two weeks I spend with Len Brackett working out the design details. I look forward to get away from the drawing board and finally start cutting some wood.

In the mean time my colleagues have been making tansu that will sit on top of the tan platforms. Note the coped rails. We used fine and straight grained Port Orford Cedar for these face frames.


The wood we are using on this project is some of the best we have in stock. The Sugar Pine we will use for the eating board of the tan platforms was milled more then 30 years ago. and has been sitting around waiting for the ‘right’ project. The time has come..


Large Port Orford Cedar posts

The availability of all this fine lumber is something European carpenters like myself can only dream of. Trees just don’t grow this way in that part of the world. Using the appropriate timber is crucial for this kind of work to ensure an authentic feel and look.

Sugar Pine eating boards

Most of the Port Orford Cedar posts have a sewari (stress relief kerf) cut into them to ensure clean faces without cracks.

Port Orford Cedar posts

Tomorrow I start laying out all the components. Stay tuned for more pictures soon.