The Architecture of Julia Morgan and Sacred Spaces

Northwest USA  

October 12, 2012
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

San Francisco

As part of the statewide, month-long celebration of Julia Morgan, Zen Center and the American Institute of Architects are cosponsoring a series of events to recognize and celebrate the architectural and spiritual aspects of sacred spaces at City Center, 300 Page Street.

Suggested Donation:  $25 / $15 discounted for Zen Center members, seniors, and students

The event will take place at the San Francisco Zen Center and is a moderated panel discussion among architects who will offer insight into the design process for a particular kind of quiet space. The architects will show one or two of their own designs for religious buildings as examples. Addressing the parallels between the practice of design and spiritual practice, the idea will be to showcase the commonality of spiritual spaces by looking at various buildings and the spirit behind their designs. This event will consider Julia Morgan’s designs for religious structures, as well as what constitutes a sacred space and what is involved in the design process to create one. The dialogue of the panel will explore the relationship between the practice of design and the language of how ritual is created.

San Francisco Zen Center, 300 Page Street, was originally designed in 1922 by Julia Morgan as the Emanu-el Sisterhood Residence. In 1969 Shunryu Suzuki Roshi established the Beginner’s Mind Temple, a training center in the Soto Zen tradition.

Approved for AIA Continuing Education Units.


Mitchell Schwartzer, Moderator

Susie Coliver, Architect

Paul Discoe

Craig W. Hartman, FAIA


Mitchell Schwarzer is an architectural historian who writes on the urban and suburban built environment with attention to issues of mobility, perception, media, consumerism, and memory. His current projects involve Jewish architecture/space and American real estate. He is a Professor of Visual Studies at CCA, California College of the Arts.

Susie Coliver is an architect and, together with her husband, Bob Herman, principal of a 14-person architectural practice in San Francisco: Herman Coliver Locus: Architecture/Planning and Design Studio. They have had the opportunity to design schools and Jewish religious and communal spaces, including a number of synagogues, over the last decade.

Paul Discoe is a designer and Zen Buddhist priest. He apprenticed in Japan with traditional temple builders and has designed and built many Zen temples, residential projects, grand estates, and modular structures. He helped transform a rustic hot-springs resort into Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

Craig W. Hartman, FAIA, is an architect  and the Design Partner of the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. His most prominent work includes the Cathedral of Christ the Light for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland. It is the first cathedral in the world build entirely in the 21st century. He also completed the International Terminal at the San Francisco International Airport, the Harvard University Northwest Science Building, and the new US Embassy in Beijing.