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cultural crossing 


“Tradition is not simple ‘preservation’.  It is that element in creative art which does not change at its core but which changes constantly in its expression.” (UCHIYAMA TAKEO, Director Emeritus for the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)



Project Team: Castle Wall Stonemason Suminori Awata with Matt Driscoll & Kyle Schlagenhauf, Carpenter Dale Brotherton, Hacker Architects, Hoffman Construction, Tokyo based Kengo Kuma Associates, KPFF Engineering, Stone Sculptures, Treecology/Arborist, Turnstone Construction, Garden Curator Sadafumi Uchiyama, & Walker Macy Landscape Architects

The concept of traditional details being implemented in new ways embodies the core of the recent Portland Japanese Garden’s Cultural Crossing Project. With growing visitor-ship, expanded program­ming, and a newly founded institution for Japanese Garden Arts & Culture, the need to preserve and maintain the peace and tranquility of the historic garden while allowing for growth became essential. Emphasis on the convergence of Japanese design concepts and construction with ecology based design principles is evident in the unique stormwater gardens and Japanese Greenbiz tile ecoroofs.

Emerging from this incredibly complex site development and construction process is an award-winning project which seamlessly blends world class architecture with the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Totaling $37 million, the LEED Gold accredited project completed in 2017 includes four new buildings within a new entry experience and cultural village, along with three new garden ar­eas: the Entry Garden, the Tsubo-Niwa Courtyard Garden, and the Ellie M. Hill Bonsai Terrace. From the beginning of construction to the last hand-built detail, the attention to master craftsmanship and enduring materials was evident: Shinto ritual blessings of the site, boulders split and chipped by hand, and priceless aged trees saved for transplant all set the tone for the high commitment to authenticity.

An essential member of the international design team, Desirae D. Wood’s responsibilities included de­sign, material procurement, Japanese ecoroof tile testing, budget tracking, hands-on construction and coordination, environmental restoration permits, cultural communication support, and establishment.

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