After the Denver Urban Renewal Authority razed the area known as Japan Town, a Buddhist temple bought back its square-block site and hired Bertram Bruton, a Denver African American architect, to design a tower for subsidized housing and a shopping complex. Bruton also revamped the exterior of the existing Tri-State Buddhist Temple (1949), 1947 Lawrence Street, to make it compatible with the new full-block development, a center for Denver's Japanese community. The twenty-story Tamai Tower, honoring longtime Tri-State Buddhist Temple pastor Yoshitaka Tamai, has recessed apartment balconies in a textured concrete facade. A bermed courtyard and mini-park create intimacy, as does the walled temple courtyard with its Japanese garden and shrine of St. Shinran.
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