Arquitectura Viva
Monday, December 10, 2018

Kengo Kuma, cultural village in Japanese garden of Portland (Oregon)

The Portland Japanese Garden, originally designed by Professor Takuma Tono, takes up 22,000 square meters of land and opened in 1967. In this inimitable enclave the Japanese firm Kengo Kuma Associates has built a new cultural village composed of modest buildings, of human scale, that surround a square on three sides, leaving the fourth side free for enjoyment of views of the splendid landscape.

Located halfway between the city and the hilltop, the cultural village aims to be monzenmachi, a modern ‘city-gate.’ A place for worshipping the spirit of nature. Each of the four volumes that make up the complex has its own way of fusing with the dramatic slopes of the terrain, at the same time striking a contrast with the vertical lines of Pacific Northwest conifers. The entrance pavilion floats over stepped ponds, the café or tea house hovers over a void, and the two main constructions, the village house and the garden house, are simply set on the square.

With deep but gentle projections in metal and exuberant vegetation, the zigzagging roofs protect an architecture of indefinite, porous, flexible boundaries that intensify the relationship between inside and outoside and respect the landscape profoundly.
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