Sweeping Spans for Meditation

Kim Son Meditation Center, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist place of repose and worship, will be taking delivery of their 10 glulaminated and steel trusses very soon. The trusses are just over 60’ long, and 16’ high. As seen in the accompanying images, the community’s goal was to express a sweeping sense of structure and space, perhaps a bit like clouds moving across an overhead sky.

For us, the challenges were many: Glulam beams that are set into curved forms have a certain “memory” of once being many straight pieces of wood. This gives them a certain desire to spring back for the designed curvature. And they did. And because wood is such an individualistic material, it’s almost impossible to know and therefore calculate the exact amount of spring back to plan for. Because the beams are held together with large steel plating, we were able to wrestle the wood into place and apply over 1000 huge bolts in total to the trusses. When we stood the truss up for initial testing, There was zero spread over the 60’ of length.
The trusses will be partially disassembled before being loaded onto a few tractor trailers to head south to California. We’ll share more images of the completed project later this year. In the meantime, if you’re interested in truss design, we have a truss gallery on our site that might feed your curiosity. Or reach out–we’d be happy to chat.
Update, truss installation! Our thanks to Tom and Nick of Sanders Construction as well as Phap Anh Dharimage for the images: