First designed in 1963, the Portland Japanese Garden was declared “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan” by Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan. Today—after three years of construction—the 9.1-acre garden has been expanded by a further 3.4 acres, thanks to the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Working together with the garden’s curator, Sadafumi Uchiyama, they designed a new “cultural village,” comprising three green roofed structures.
The cultural village imitates a traditional Japanese Monzenmachi—a gate-front town surrounded by sacred temples. The three structures, situated around the Tateuchi courtyard, were designed with nature as their focal point. Kuma explains that he “aimed for a cultural facility like a village, suitable for a human city integrated with nature.”
The largest of the three buildings—the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center—is home to a library, gallery, gift shop, and classroom, all of which provide a place for visitors to immerse themselves in traditional Japanese arts and culture. The second building—a garden-house—offers horticulture workshops, while the third—a hillside café—provides an extra place to relax, with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood.
With an environmentally conscious mindset, Kuma and Uchiyama have introduced hundreds of new plants, as well as living roofs to absorb rainwater. To minimize pressure on the city’s sewage system, a stone creek channels waste into a holding tank, which is then slowly released into the sewer. The entire cultural village is heated by 24 geothermal wells, 300 feet below ground, which boost energy efficiency and reduce costs.
The Portland Japanese Garden’s new extension is now open to the public.
Nestled in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon the Japanese garden overlooks the city and provides a tranquil oasis for locals and tourists.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has recently expanded the garden with a new “cultural village.”
The living roofs soak up rainwater and help minimize pressure on the city’s sewage system.
The new structures provide a cultural centre, a garden studio, and a café.
Kengo Kuman: Website