January 19th, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Portland Japanese Garden
email@example.com, (503) 542-0288
Portland Japanese Garden Partners with World-Renowned Architect, Kengo Kuma
Kuma to lead Garden’s expansion project
Portland, Ore. — January 19, 2011 — The Portland Japanese Garden has announced the selection of world-renowned architect, Kengo Kuma to lead the Garden’s future expansion project. The announcement comes following a two year search process and marks the first public North American project that Mr. Kuma will design.
In 2007 the Portland Japanese Garden began the process of creating a master site plan designed to preserve and enhance the tranquility of the existing Garden, respond to increased visitor numbers, and take advantage of opportunities in the areas of education, environmental sustainability, revenue generation through visitor amenities, and enhancing visitor and member services. In December 2010, the Garden welcomed Mr. Kuma as an architect candidate for this project. As part of his visit to the Garden, Mr. Kuma gave a public lecture on his current projects in Japan and abroad, and also presented design concepts for the expansion project to the Garden’s Architect Selection Committee. Mr. Kuma’s vision for the Garden, as presented to the Architect Selection Committee, was to build on the contributions of original Garden designer Takuma Tono as well as the past Garden directors, while setting forth a clear path for the Garden’s future. The concepts were a seamless expression of contemporary elements solidly rooted in the fundamentals of traditional Japanese architectural design.
After careful consideration and analysis, on January 7, 2011 the Portland Japanese Garden Board of Directors unanimously adopted the recommendation of the Architect Selection Committee to engage Mr. Kuma as the lead architect for the Garden’s expansion project. “The Portland Japanese Garden is thrilled to have this exceptional architect to carry forward the mantle of Portland’s world-class garden,” said the Garden’s CEO, Steve Bloom. “We look forward to partnering in the years to come as we meet our needs and continue to preserve and enhance the tranquility of the Garden for all to enjoy.”
“I am honored and really excited about working with Steve Bloom and the people at the Portland Japanese Garden. They have done significant work in curating and maintaining the Garden, which is truly fantastic,” stated Mr. Kuma. “Its careful growth is a very important cultural effort not only for Portland but also for the U.S. and Japan. This is to be our first public project in North America, and I am very happy that the project carries with it tremendous importance—not just for me but for others as well. I look forward to helping the Portland Japanese Garden take shape in its next steps, and hope to contribute something of lasting beauty and value to the city of Portland.”
Professor Botond Bognar, the Edgar A. Tafel Chair in Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a leading scholar in North America on post-war Japanese architecture, refers to Mr. Kuma as “one of Japan’s most prominent, internationally renowned architects, and for good reason.” Mr. Kuma’s work includes the world-famous Bamboo House near the Great Wall of China, a structure built primarily of bamboo and glass, and the Tiffany & Co. flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo, famous for its clean lines and 292 double-pane glass panels beveled like facets on a diamond. At present, Mr. Kuma has been entrusted with redesigning what is arguably the most prestigious building in Japan, the Kabuki-za Theater in Ginza, Tokyo which since 1889 has been a landmark known around the world.
“It is a real coup for Portland that such a renowned architect has chosen the Portland Japanese Garden as his first public North American project. Kengo Kuma’s leadership in the expansion will make the Garden even more of a national treasure,” said Chase W. Rynd, president and executive director of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Given his stature in the global architecture community and exemplary body of work, Mr. Kuma’s vision and expertise will undoubtedly benefit the Garden and community at-large.
“The Portland Japanese Garden is truly a jewel in Portland’s crown,” praised Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “The City enthusiastically welcomes Kengo Kuma to Portland and eagerly anticipates the new developments at the Garden,” he continued.
The expansion project includes construction of new garden spaces, a cultural and education center, gift store and a tea house that will serve the public. The Garden will now turn its attention to a capital campaign to fund the expansion. As the project progresses, updates will be available on the Portland Japanese Garden website at www.japanesegarden.com/expansion.
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The Portland Japanese Garden is the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Situated on more than 5 acres nestled in the scenic west hills of Portland, the Garden features five traditional garden styles. The Garden is located above Washington Park at 611 SW Kingston Drive in SW Portland, Oregon and is open daily except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Visit the Garden online at www.japanesegarden.com.
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