HUA YUAN CHAPEL

BUDDHIST & CHRISTIAN CHAPEL COMPLEX

Whittier, CA

CLIENT GOALS: Create a celebration of life structure for Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, and Christian traditions for western and eastern style funeral ceremonies.

PROJECT GOAL: Develop a dramatic design solution that would get the public’s attention and make them want to come here, and they have.

PROGRAM: The building program included a central reception lobby, administration offices, two chapels with accompanying dining room, client use kitchen, ceremonial burner for joss symbols and courtyard incense burning, parking and landscaping.

SOLUTION: Instead of a single building we created a complex of visually exciting structures separated by glass passages through Zen gardens. The reception lobby is in the middle with the north and south chapels at each end and showcases the elements of water, sun, and air by using high ceilings and daylighting.

Fen Shui Principles are used throughout and symbolism of the deity “Guanyin” add to the feeling of peace and tranquility with wavey green glass, water features, and dripping tears from the ceiling.

Parapet structures were used for the chapels, dining, and kitchen structures to save costs and provide solar array space. The chapels are introverted spaces with controlled light, wood grill suspended ceilings, and wall art hanging systems allowing individual honoring of the deceased by each user group.

Pavilion roof structures for the three lobbies were designed to provide dramatic daylighting and controlled light with angular metal louvre systems at the entry lobbies and reception center and solar power. The exposed steel framing, high glass walls, suspended wood grill ceilings, stone floors, unique casework and intrusion of light and shadows from the window systems create a visually stunning experience in these spaces.

The Zen passages use butt-jointed glass with angled steel “bamboo” poles giving the feeling of walking outside through the Zen garden bamboo forest to the adjoining structure.

This office provided complete design services including master planning, site and landscaping, structure design, interior design, all finishes, furniture design, and construction management.

This project was constructed during the coronavirus crisis from June 2019 and completed on December 15, 2020 which was a tremendous challenge.

Hua Yuan means “Prosperous Garden” and is a new level of funeral service available to the Asian community. Hua Yuan had a soft (COVID) opening in early November and the impact on the community has already been immense since then. The project is in constant demand.

American Institute of Architects
San Fernando Valley Chapter
Design Award 2020