Having been on hold over the past few years, the refined plans for a modern six-story temple to rise on the American Buddhist Cultural Society’s office and bookstore building parcel at 1750 Van Ness Avenue could be approved next week.

In addition to a main shrine hall and meditation rooms, the proposed 43,000-square-foot San Bao Temple project, as designed and rendered by SOM, with bronzed aluminum screens, glazed terracotta, limestone and bamboo finishes, includes a new bookstore, art gallery, tea house, classrooms, terrace, basement garage for 7 cars and 27 dormitory rooms for monastics and visiting volunteers from around the world.

All that being said, permits for the project have yet to be requested. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by maurice

    This is a lovely improvement to the Van Ness corridor.

    • Posted by SF Native

      Beautiful. More, please. Others take note!

  2. Posted by Sid

    This looks really amazing especially compared to what’s there now!

  3. Posted by Rob D

    This looks awesome. A great addition to the neighborhood.

  4. Posted by Build build build

    Makes me want to become a Buddhist.

  5. Posted by Gena Gena Ooi

    Great job. Finally

  6. Posted by Richard

    “Meditation rooms” instead of “mediation rooms” perhaps? Looks so in the rendering. To be clear, I would trust Buddhists with mediations in general…

    [Editor’s Note: Good catch, bad typo, since corrected above.]

  7. Posted by Emily

    This looks amazing! So excited for this ?.

  8. Posted by Mel

    Looks like a wonderful place to visit! Can’t wait for it to be completed!

  9. Posted by Joe

    Looks pretty

  10. Posted by Fanny

    This will bring cultural diversity and enhance Buddhism experience in the community.

  11. Posted by Ya Ya

    I feel very peaceful

  12. Posted by frank

    This looks amazing! It will be a nice transformation and bring great value to the community

  13. Posted by Ann Lin

    I am excited to see the “new” temple!

  14. Posted by Emily S

    I have been to this temple twice. It is at a great location but the space is limited. With the refined plans, it will definitely bring out the great potential the location has to offer, continue to benefit the community and enhance the presence of Buddhism in our daily lives. Looking forward to visit the new place when it’s all done!

  15. Posted by Ellen

    It is wonderful to have such a beautiful and peaceful place in the city. Can’t wait!

  16. Posted by john p downey

    Who is paying for it? Buddhism they way we learnt it growing up in a small town, was meant to embody simplicity, eschewing all material things, making do with almost nothing, and essentially treading lightly on the planet. While this building is undoubtedly beautiful, and the materials listed are exquisite and SOM does quality work, this does seem a little self indulgent.

    • Posted by Richard

      If you think this is self indulgent, do check out Bangkok.

      • Posted by Tony

        What’s wrong with lavish community spaces? If a religion is more self-serving than community serving that is a problem, but if this building exists for the enjoyment of the community it’s ok to indulge in luxury. People deserve to have nice things for collective use, it’s a lot better than opulence only existing for the ultra-rich.

    • Posted by Chris

      Who is paying for it? The American Buddhist Cultural Society that owns the property. And, I guess you’ve never visited many existing Buddhist temples, they can be quite lavish. You are also using “self-indulgent” incorrectly, perhaps you mean extravagant, or even ostentatious? In any event, with respect to the aesthetic impact on the streetscape, the general public will greatly appreciate having this grand and beautiful structure grace the Van Ness corridor.

    • Posted by truth hurts

      Taxpayers, seeing as how they’re a tax-exempt organization.

  17. Posted by Matthew S

    This design looks amazing and hope I it gets built soon. Should be a great addition to Van Ness Avenue – the transparency and high-quality materials will hopefully improve the pedestrian experience around this area, which currently has a lot of homeless people living on the sidewalks.

  18. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Nice touch that the pedestrian in the rendering is in orange robes. (Serious not sarcastic)

  19. Posted by Scor Oehlbert

    Looks Great!

  20. Posted by Maureen Sullivan

    What a beautiful project! It looks like it will be a wonderful peaceful sanctuary.

  21. Posted by Mimi Pon

    It looks great and will be a great benefit to the community.

  22. Posted by McIntyre

    This looks amazing. A great addition to the neighborhood, can’t wait to see it real.

  23. Posted by Yuan Zhi

    What an incredible and inviting place!

  24. Posted by Heather

    It really looks great compared to now. Finally!

  25. Posted by Sandy

    Looks like a very nice and thoughtful project.

  26. Posted by Anne W.

    This is going to be a lovely project! Best of luck in obtaining the Approvals!

  27. Posted by Cheng Cheu

    This looks amazing! It really looks great improvement!

  28. Posted by Dirima Rosales

    Considering how confusing and turbulent the world can be this seems like a beautiful safe haven. This will help a lot of people who, like me, are seeking refuge in the kindness this world has to offer. It seems like a beautiful temple and I can’t wait to see it approved and built.

    • Posted by Cindy

      Yes with all the events the world is going through, this temple will give people a safe refuge to turn to. Can’t wait to visit when it is done!!

  29. Posted by Cindy

    Can’t wait to visit when it is done! It looks so peaceful and calm. Will be a treasure to the community. Thank you for providing the community this safe and calm place for all generations to be at. Excited ?

  30. Posted by Denny Braun

    This would be a wonderful addition to San Francisco, and for California as a whole. I participate in San Diego with an associated Buddhists Temple (Hsi Fang) and can personally testify to the worth of this group and its followers. They would be absolutely fantastic neighbors and would offer our state the gift of spiritual wisdom! Denny Braun, Phd. Professor Emeritus of Sociology

  31. Posted by DAA

    Wow, something everyone on Socketsite agrees on. This building is already brining us together.

  32. Posted by Luz Juvera

    Buddhist Temples have been places where members of faith communities can come together to celebrate their faith, life’s big events, such as births, weddings and funerals. They are also places where many of the poorest in society can turn at times of their greatest need. Places that unite people to follow a cause or help the poor.

    Many religious buildings do not just help believers in their relationship with God but also in their relationships with the needy. This beautiful and modern building not only would serve the growing modern youth community giving inspiration for greater things in life, but also for the elders who have worked so hard to make this a dream come true.

  33. Posted by David Lindy

    Fantastic! The Beauty is in the Diversity. This would be an excellent added value to the community and the city of San Francisco. Having the inclusiveness of the differences and the abundant diversity of cultures would bring us unity. This would make our community a more interesting and inspiring place to live in!

  34. Posted by Abn

    Fo Guang Shan temples around the world provide many services to their local communities. I am in San Diego and go to my local branch for services and learning about Buddhism. However, I used to live in San Francisco and have visited the FGS San Bao Temple and I really enjoy participating with them at the Bay-to-Breakers event.

    Seeing this new project completed and all the potential services it can provide with all the planned amenities will be of great service to local community. Congrats on new project proposal!

  35. Posted by Charles Pandana

    It seems like a very peaceful and tranquil temple. It will be a great benefit to the community. The world needs more places that spread loving kindness.

  36. Posted by Melissa

    Buddhism is growing. This will help teach the community to keep our eyes and mind open and keep learning. This is important to help fight against racism.

  37. Posted by JW

    In the remodeled building, more people can enjoy chant, meditate, and hold different events. Such a beautiful temple in SF that brings peace to many souls.

  38. Posted by Alex Amies

    I am so pleased to read about the upgraded and expanded temple. It will be wonderful for the local community.

  39. Posted by WzY

    This building is fantastic! It will add diversity and harmony to the local community! A great place to be in times of adversity to gain inner peace and strength!

  40. Posted by Nancy Cowardin

    I fully support the proposed building project that would expand the existing Temple. I have been fortunate enough to stay at San Bao Temple for a few days in the past and in doing so, recognized the great need for expansion so that it can accommodate more students, practitioners, and devotees of Buddhism. Careful planning of this project has ensured the building will be not only useful, but will also contribute to the beauty of the city.

  41. Posted by Ian

    Amazing design. I think this will be a great improvement and benefit for members and monastics who are living in the temple. Hope to see it built.

  42. Posted by Jeanie chou

    It will be a great benefit to the community.

  43. Posted by yu Chen

    It’s a good idea to bring people together to learn and is a plus for San Francisco because some buidings are too old.

  44. Posted by Jeanie Ye

    The design is very aesthetically modern and clean. Looking forward to the new ABCS chapter in San Francisco and for community members of Fo Guang Shan to come together.

  45. Posted by Phyllis

    This expansion plan looks beautiful. The temple offers a safe place for people of all ages, race, background and faith. They have low cost meditation retreats and classes that people can participate in and you do not need to be a member or be Buddhist. This updated temple will add to the vitality of SF!

  46. Posted by Kee Heng Tiow

    Simply amazing! A wonderful upgrade to the SF neighborhood. More importantly, a great place to learn and practice for our spiritual cultivation. It is an excellent benefit to local community. I have been there since 2003.

  47. Posted by Hui Wen Ooi

    San Bao Temple is an important community center for the Buddhist community of San Francisco. It is a great place to engage with culture, religion, and other San Franciscans. I was part of the San Bao Temple community for a few years, and I strongly approve of the temple’s expansion. The newly expanded temple will provide American Buddhists with a healing and supportive space for their practice. I think that this project would also help promote Van Ness Avenue’s cultural diversity as well, and I hope that the city of San Francisco will continue to support San Bao Temple for years to come.

  48. Posted by Cathy

    Not only will the new temple serve as a spiritual and cultural center for everyone interested in Buddhism and the Chinese culture, the aesthetic design and unique architecture will beautify and revitalize the entire neighborhood. The City of San Francisco boasts is cultural diversity and the design will surely blend in with this diversity.

  49. Posted by Denis Golden

    I have participated in many activities in San Bao temple. they welcome everyone with no judgement or expectations.
    The building will bring life and activity to the ghost town that Van Ness avenue has become.

  50. Posted by Ceci

    A delightful place to have retreat mode to in a busy city life

  51. Posted by Walter Lenci

    The temple is an amazing addition to San Francisco. By approving the expansion you would help the city and the people who care about the place because there are trouble times and their love and caring will be very good for the city and everyone involved. You’re very welcome thank you for your patience

  52. Posted by Marlene

    This wiill be an ideal place for spiritual cultivation and an important community center for cultural education and charitable events.

  53. Posted by Noah Lyman

    The building remodel plan would definitely be a precious addition to the city! This temple has so much to offer for its community and it would be astonishing to see the final structure built amongst the other buildings in the Van Ness corridor.

    Hope the city would issue the permits without too much hassle, we’d like to see this part of town add the finishing touch to such a positive and energy aggregate space where people can practice their spiritual cultivation and inspiration.

  54. Posted by Jean Ko

    Love the new design idea with extra classrooms and a mediation room, especially the garden Green idea and top floor Outdoor Terrace. Very modern and bright looking. It will be the wonderful place for any age to practice and learning Buddhism. I can’t wait for it to complete and continue my practice there. Thank you.

  55. Posted by Rosaline Lau

    I’ve been coming to this temple for many years. It organizes different programs for spiritual cultivation and does a lot of charity works for the local community and beyond.

    The current building is very old and often has many leaks from the ceiling on rainy days despite constant repairs over the years. The temple sits on a big lot, but the usable space is difficult to accommodate all the attendees in Sunday’s services and activities; this would be a big problem in the post-pandemic world.

    The new building’s floor plan seems to be more spacious and the outlook is so aesthetical, modern, tranquil, and peaceful. I can’t wait to see that the new building is approved and built. It will definitely be a blessing to all the visitors and add value to not only the neighborhood but also San Francisco.

    San Bao Temple, like other temples under Fo Guang Shan organization, promotes equity and virtues, and services the community as best as it can. As the Fo Guang Four Verses states, “May kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity pervade all worlds; May we cherish merits, and build affinities to benefit all beings; May Chan, Pure Land and Precepts inspire equality and patience. May our humility and gratitude give rise to great vows.” This Fo Guang Four Verses is not only for chanting but rather a guideline for the devotees to practise in their daily life.

  56. Posted by Portia Barnblatt

    The building remodel plan would definitely be a precious addition to the city! This temple has so much to offer for its community and it would be wonderful to see the final structure built amongst the other buildings in the Van Ness corridor. This wiill be an ideal place for spiritual cultivation and an important community center for cultural education and charitable events.

  57. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    We haven’t seen such a lovefest for a new development since Teatro ZinZanni’s proposed to move their tent to the waterfront.

  58. Posted by Selene

    This is such an amazing design, and would be a great addition to San Francisco, specifically Van Ness ave. It has a great balance of tranquility and calmness needed by the society, and a modern touch that fits well into the other architecture along the street.

  59. Posted by Irene G

    The temple looks gorgeous after rebuild, it definitely add value to the neighborhood and it’s a great place for practice our spiritual cultivation, can’t wait to see it completed

  60. Posted by Lynette

    Our country is in dire need of more peace and harmony. Many people are seeking clarity and calmness within, so they can help to build a brighter future for their children, their families, and their coworkers. Perfect timing! Gorgeous building. Cannot wait to visit!

  61. Posted by Sonny

    Majestic design. Cant wait to see it in person

  62. Posted by Vicky

    This temple looks like a wonderful place where anyone can retreat to learn more about peace and kindness. It would be of great benefit to the community. I definitely approve of this project.

  63. Posted by Sherry W.

    Wow this is a BIG step towards culture preservation on City of SF! As a Chinese-Canadian American expat, I have struggled to find ‘real’ culture and community in San Francisco although the city seems so hustling bustling and enriched. Philosophy, tradition and heritage do not come in Asian Fusion food nor disposable boba shop merchandise.

    San Bao Temple quietly and relentlessly serve the community with its supportive services, not asking for anything for return. It has been way too humble in the past and definitely deserves more recognition and support from wider communities.

    Please do help the rebuild of San Bao Temple and make it more international known. It’s not just for religious/custom purposes but also for culture preservation. It is important for future generations. This is priceless treasure.

  64. Posted by Lesley

    Lovely and peaceful. The Buddhist temple in my city is a place of heart and love on the inside with an unassuming exterior that fits with the neighborhood.

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