Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma unveiled the $33.5 million expansion plan designs for the Portland Japanese Garden, a landscape considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the U.S. The new project, which adds 3.4 acres to the 9.1-acre site, will include a Cultural Village along with seven new garden areas. The Cultural Village’s three new buildings are designed to meet LEED standards.
Considered one of the top destinations for tourists in Oregon, the Portland Japanese Garden has experienced rapid visitor growth over its 52-year lifespan and currently serves 300,000 visitors a year—a number that’s ten times greater than what the original infrastructure was designed to handle. To accommodate this growth, the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon enlisted the help of Kengo Kuma & Associates and local Portland firms, such as THA Architecture and Walker Macy, to create an expansion plan. Much of the design work was provided pro bono and the majority of the funds for the project will be raised from private donations.
The biggest change to the gardens will be the Cultural Village, a series of buildings that will replace a stretch of asphalt outside the main garden. The pedestrian-only courtyard will be ringed by three LEED-certified buildings and include amenities such as a tea cafe, art galleries, a gift shop, event spaces, and classrooms. The buildings, which may be topped with green roofs, combine traditional Japanese design with local 21st century craftsmanship and materials. The area around the new buildings will be landscaped with over 200 new trees and shrubs.
“Kengo Kuma and Associates has developed the vision and design for the expansion, providing a beautiful modern style that blends the traditions of Japanese design with the spirit of the Pacific Northwest,” said the garden society. Construction on the new expansion will be begin this fall and completion is slated for 2017.