Plans have been unveiled for Kengo Kuma's first public commission in the US. The Portland Japanese Garden has commissioned Kuma to design a new "Cultural Village" to accommodate the garden's growing popularity.
Based off the Japanese tradition of monzenmachi (gate-front towns), where activity exists just outside the gates of shrines and cultural sites, the village will provide a "free-flowing" courtyard space for events and educational activities, as well as multi-purpose classrooms, galleries, a library, tea cafe, and more. In addition to this, a new visitor entrance will be built on an existing site at the bottom of the hillside site on Kingston Avenue, just on the outskirts of downtown Portland.
The 52-year-old garden has seen visitor attendance rise from 30,000 to 350,000 annual visitors over the years, thus the expansion is a necessary step for preserving the gardens' serenity.
"To continue being a haven of serenity, this project is designed to take the liveliness of social experiences out of the Garden, freeing it up to be a quiet, reverent space," said Cynthia Haruyama, the garden's deputy director.
Construction is scheduled to complete in the Spring of 2017.