I have designed meditation spaces for both individuals and organizations for over 30 years.
— Alan Ness, Architect at Ten Directions Design


Creating a meditation space in your home is a vote of confidence in your natural wakefulness. It can be as simple as a cushion placed in the corner of your bedroom, or as involved as a separate room devoted to your meditation practice. I have created a variety of contemplative spaces, and would be delighted to help you design a space for meditation in your home: email me at alan@tddseattle.com, or hit the Contact link.

Zen Door

Small Home Meditation Space

These blueprints show the plan and section of this tiny shrine room. It is a small "left-over" space under the attic roof, measuring just 4' x 9'. You kneel to enter and can stand up only at one end. Yet it is a perfect practice space, with a side window and skylight creating a sense of openness.

Shrine Room Ness
Meditation Floor Layout

The two plans below show a small and large layout for a group meditation space within a house. These are the starting point for a complete set of construction documents. They are also the beginning point for a comprehensive interior design to complement the space.

Meditation Design for Large Groups

For over 30 years I have designed meditation halls for Buddhist temple projects, beginning in architecture school. These projects range from effective ways of working with a rented space, up to large-scale new construction. Please contact me about how my unique background and skills can help your group or organization: email me at alan@tddseattle.com, or hit the Contact Us link.


There are three projects for a land center in northern Vermont:

1) Comprehensive Rural Center
The largest is a 50,000 SF center for up to 500 people. This was my architectural thesis. You can see how it is sited on a hillside, with the road and parking following the natural slopes. The two wings of the building form an enclosing background, while the Meditation Hall itself rises out of the hillside, reminiscent of the Tibetan style of construction on steeper slopes.

2) Barn Conversion
The second project is the conversion of an existing barn into a temporary meditation center that can later be converted into theater space. This was a challenging 'program' where I needed to find equivalent spaces that were also similarly arranged.

3) Fire Puja Cabin
The final project for the land center is a Fire Puja Cabin. I completed drawings that had been started earlier. This Puja Cabin allows a small group of advanced practitioners to gather for special practices.

Rural Retreat Center
A different project shown here is a Retreat Center located near to a large city. This Center is shown atop a hill among a park-like setting. The Center is clearly divided between the public gathering space and the quiet meditation hall.


Meditation Center in a House
Presented below is a photo of the current (2009) Shambhala Center in Seattle. I worked on the plans with another member who is a designer, in a collaborative approach. The Center is in a large house. The Meditation Hall is located in a space that was formerly the living room and dining room.

The Shambhala Center in Seattle

The Shambhala Center in Seattle

Meditation Center in a Rental Space

An earlier location of the Shambhala Center was in a rental space. This plan shows how a large space was designed to accommodate both a Meditation Hall and all the necessary auxiliary functions.



Within the meditation center there may be a need for various shrines to be created and located. I have examples of a variety of shrines that I have designed.

Generosity Shrine
The Center needed a permanently mounted focus where visitors could donate, and also receive information about the Center. This Shrine combines a Tibetan seed syllable for Generosity, with an offering plate and secure receptacle. There are also holders for brochures and contact forms.

JAM Shrine Plan

JAM Shrine Plan

Generosity Shrine

Generosity Shrine

Kitchen Shrine
It is common for a small shrine to be located in a kitchen space in a Center. I created a simple design to allow for offerings and to fit into a limited space.

Closed Shrine
Finally, there may be closed shrines whose contents are only available to qualified practitioners. This type of shrine requires special attention to both the design when closed as well as the function when in use.

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