Architecture meets Light

“We’ve been practicing architects for over thirty years; this will certainly be
the most remarkable structure that we’ve constructed.”
– John Patkau

What to expect

Patkau Architects joins Yasodhara Ashram to cohost a unique weekend masterclass that uses the Temple of Light project as a case study for exploring the design of sacred space at the edge of architectural innovation.  Together the group will explore architectural and fabrication practices through short lectures, reflection and meaningful dialogue with each other and invited guests from Patkau Architects, Spearhead and Yasodhara Ashram.

This masterclass experience is for those who are inspired by the intersection of purposeful architecture, collaborative design, and how these fit together to manifest an innovative building like the new Temple of Light.  Participants will learn about Patkau Architects’ body of work, their iterative approach to architectural design, the technical aspects that go into a structure of this kind and the requisite collaboration from all those involved.

We welcome registrations from professionals, students and enthusiasts of stunning architecture and brilliant design.

Patkau Architects are generously donating all proceeds from this workshop to Yasodhara Ashram.

About the Masterclass Weekend

Where: Yasodhara Ashram, Kootenay Bay, BC

When: September 15-17 + September 18 (optional)

What: Mix of lecturettes, personal reflection and discussions

Who: John Patkau and Luke Stern from Patkau Architects, Ted Hall and Geoff Watts from Spearhead, and Swami Lalitananda and Swami Sivananda from Yasodhara Ashram.

How much: $960 for private room, $780 for a shared room (max 2 per room), and $475 for students.  We are also offering a -15% Bring a Friend discount.  There is a modest sliding scale available. For more information, email before registering:

– Masterclass Weekend + Optional Monday
– Modest accommodations at Yasodhara Ashram
– All meals, which are locally sourced from the Ashram gardens and local farmers.
– Internet

Patkau Architects are generously donating all proceeds from this workshop to Yasodhara Ashram.

Conversation Catalysts

Meet our presenters and guest speakers.


Principal, Patkau Architects

John founded Patkau Architects with Patricia in 1978. He is responsible for directing the activities of the firm, and with Patricia, for providing design leadership throughout each project from inception to completion.

Luke Stern

Senior Design Researcher, Patkau Architects

As Senior Design Researcher at Patkau Architects, Luke continues to investigate the construction of complex forms through the development of novel applications of conventional building materials and techniques.

Ted Hall

Founder & Creative Director, Spearhead

Ted draws from an abiding passion for design coupled with a keen interest in progressive project delivery involving the integration of design, technology and craft.  He's helped establish Spearhead as an industry leader with a broad range of capabilities in computer-aided design and specialty fabrication.

Geoff Watts

Senior Project Coordinator, Spearhead

Geoff Watts brings over 20 years of experience working in trades and technology in the construction industry. Geoff currently oversees the design and fabrication of some of Spearhead’s most complex and challenging projects. 


President, Yasodhara Ashram

Swami Lalitananda became the president of Yasodhara Ashram Society in May 2014. A month later the original Temple of Light was destroyed by fire and Swami Lalitananda became instrumental in the process of rebuilding the new Temple.

Swami Sivananda

Yasodhara Ashram

Swami Sivananda is a long-time resident of the Ashram and holds a background in environmental engineering. He took on the internal Ashram role of project manager for the Temple of Light build and acted as the direct liaison with all involved partners.


Friday, September 15 (6:45pm) – Sunday, September 17 (3:30pm)
+ Monday, September 18 (optional)

This masterclass will focus on the complete architectural process surrounding the Temple of Light. The workshop will cover concept development to fabrication, an exploration of the collaborative aspects of the process paired with some experiential elements of what the temple space is used for. The weekend will cover practical and technical aspects of the design, fabrication, and construction phases.


Introductory evening where participants will hear from each other as well as learn about the historical context of the Temple of Light – its origins, purpose, and meaning within the Ashram community. The evening will conclude with the group joining the community at the Temple for its nightly Satsang as a way to get a first-hand experience of the building.


The day will open a dialogical exploration of Patkau Architects’ work as evolutionary steps in an ongoing line of inquiry into form, materials and architecture. Special focus will be brought to the Temple in its role as a cultural vessel serving the Ashram and the region, as well as its poetic values related to design.  Short lectures will act as catalysts for conversation among participants and the design team at Patkau Architects.


Hearing from various partners in the design, fabrication and construction processes, Sunday will focus on the collaborative nature of the Temple of Light project and the innovative approaches that helped bring it to fruition. The day will also give participants opportunities to experiment with some of the Ashram’s practices to further deepen their understanding of the Temple of Light and its purpose in the world.


(optional at no extra cost)
For those interested in staying a little longer, Monday offers the option for some rest and retreat or to take advantage of a field trip to Spearhead, the local company that fabricated and assembled the Temple form (located about 45 minutes from the Ashram, across Kootenay Lake).



Because places are limited, we encourage you to register early!

Private Room
  • Masterclass Weekend
  • + Optional Monday
  • Meals
  • Single Room
Bring a Friend
  • Masterclass Weekend with a friend
  • Each receive a 15% discount
  • Single or shared room
Shared Room
  • Masterclass Weekend
  • + Optional Monday
  • Meals
  • Shared Room
Student Pricing
  • Masterclass Weekend
  • + Optional Monday
  • Meals
  • Shared Room

There is a modest sliding scale available. For more information, email prior to registering:

Frequently Asked Questions

And if you still have questions after reviewing the FAQ, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How much does it cost?

$960 for private room, $780 for a shared room (max 2 per room), and $475 for students.  We are also offering a -15% Bring a Friend discount.  There is a modest sliding scale available. For more information, email before registering:


  • Masterclass Weekend + Optional Monday
  • Modest accommodations at the Ashram
  • All meals, which are locally sourced from the Ashram gardens and local farmers.
  • Internet

Do you have a group rate for a whole class?

Possibly, depending on how many people are registered.  Please contact Dan Séguin to explore the possibility.

Why is Monday optional?

Some people have to hurry back to work and some don’t.  We recognize that the Ashram is a long way to travel for some and want to offer those people a chance to rest on Monday or visit Spearhead for a tour of their fabrication facilities.

Can I only attend part of the weekend?

Unfortunately no. To keep consistency and flow throughout the weekend, participants must to take part from Friday to Sunday.  However, Monday is an optional day for those who’ve attended the weekend.

Who are Patkau Architects?

Patkau Architects is an innovative architecture and design research studio based in Vancouver, Canada. Governor General award-winning architects, principals John and Patricia Patkau have been practicing for over 30 years.

The Patkaus have brought their unique language of space and light to the new Temple design, with an aspiration to create something ‘luminously beautiful in that landscape of yours.’

Patkau Architects welcomed the opportunity to work with our community to explore the creation of sacred space. The design for the new Temple of Light honours its original form and the rich history of the site, all the while capturing an unknowable, luminous essence.

What is Yasodhara Ashram?

“Even though this is one small temple in the Kootenays, we see it is a symbol for hope and peace in the world. The original Temple was a physical representation of the Ashram’s vision to be a place open to people from all spiritual traditions. The next iteration of this Temple is to confirm that yes, we honour that vision.” – Swami Lalitananda, President Yasodhara Ashram Society

Yasodhara Ashram is a yoga retreat and study centre founded by Swami Sivananda Radha in Kootenay Bay, British Columbia, Canada. We are a vibrant community of Light that supports the potential of transformation in each person.


The yoga on offer – Yasodhara Yoga – is a holistic set of teachings that integrate yogic practices with personal development techniques. With an emphasis on reflection and spiritual awareness, Yasodhara Yoga is a path to inner wisdom.

Living with awareness in both the inner and outer worlds, Yasodhara Ashram is deeply committed to the principles of sustainability and resilience. These principles guide our efforts to reduce our environmental impact and embrace change, so that the Ashram continues to be a natural and spiritual resource well into the future.

What is the Temple of Light?

“The Temple will be open as a Temple of Light for those who want to find the Light in their own religion. We have to make the effort to see the Divine in each other, whatever our name, colour, race or religion. It is our greatest reward. Without focusing on the Divine we only struggle for power. But here, in the Temple, we want to be together in the Light.”
– Swami Radha, founder of Yasodhara Ashram

The Temple of Light sits in the heart of Yasodhara Ashram.

Built on the vision of Swami Sivananda Radha, the Temple of Light serves as a symbol of hope, peace and unity. For 22 years it was the sacred meeting place for our community and a beacon of Light for spiritual searchers around the world.

The Temple of Light embodies the ideal of unity in diversity. The Temple is a reminder of the individual’s search for Light, a place where all of us can discover our inner temple.

On June 5th, 2014, a fire destroyed the beloved Temple of Light at Yasodhara Ashram.

Although this has been a great loss for our community, we recognize it as an opportunity for renewal. There is potential for great beauty in new beginnings.

The Ashram has committed to keeping this sacred space alive, in spirit and in structure.

Register for the Masterclass Weekend now.

Because places are limited, we encourage you to register early!


Yasodhara Ashram is a yoga retreat and study centre set in the beautiful mountains of southeastern British Columbia.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Nourishing meals are served in the dining room or on the deck overlooking the lake in the warmer months. Vegetarian, vegan and wheat free options are always available. Organic or naturally sourced fish and poultry are occasionally served for those who include them in their diets. Organic fruit and vegetables from Yasodhara Ashram’s gardens and orchards are used as much as possible. The Ashram is committed to buying local and organic products and their menus are designed around what is available seasonally.

All meals are in silence.

Please understand that the Ashram cannot accommodate all special dietary needs, although there is a fridge and cupboard space for guest use. An ingredient list is posted at each meal for those concerned with food sensitivities. Please call prior to registering to clarify your options or if you have severe allergies.

Pack your bags!

Mountain climate requires a variety of clothing: summer days can be hot, the evenings cool and rain unpredictable.

Please bring:

– Summer clothes with something warm for the evenings
– Footwear suitable for walking outdoors
– Bathing suit

Dress is casual.


– Comfortable and modest clothing for Hatha Yoga
– Slippers or extra pair of shoes for indoors
– A flashlight and an alarm clock
– A journal for your reflections
– A laptop if you would like to use one while here
– Food needed for special diets
– Required medications
– Hair dryer

If you need to borrow some clothing, especially for outdoor work, visit the Ashram Boutique! Rain gear, work clothes, sun hats and other recycled clothing are available for your use.

Well worth the travel!

Yasodhara Ashram is located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, about midway between Vancouver and Calgary. Check-in times for guests are between 2:00 and 5:00 pm.

By Car
We are just off Highway 3A on the road to Riondel. We are 40 km northeast of Nelson by way of the Kootenay Lake ferry and 80 km north of Creston. Driving times are about 9 hours from Vancouver, BC, 8 hours from Calgary, Alberta, and 4 hours from Spokane, Washington. You’ll be required to show a valid passport to enter Canada from the United States.

By Bus
Greyhound Bus Lines serves both Creston and Nelson. It is best to make connections to the Ashram using the city bus from Nelson.

By Air
Air Canada has daily connector flights to Castlegar (schedules of flights) from the international airports in both Calgary and Vancouver. Except on Sundays, the Queen City Shuttle service will bring you to Nelson.  Pacific Coast Airlines has daily flights from many BC locations to Trail Airport.  City buses will bring you to Nelson.

Local Transportation
The Nelson city bus operates Monday through Saturday to bring you to the ferry at Balfour. The ferry service across Kootenay Lake operates from 6:30 am. to 9:40 pm. Please call ahead and we will pick you up at the ferry landing at Kootenay Bay.

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