Kengo Kuma in Portland

Porous culture


Kengo Kuma, Cultural Village of the Japonese Garden in Portland, United States

The firm Kengo Kuma Associates has within the grounds of the Portland Japanese Gardens, opened in 1967, inaugurated a Cultural Village composed of four buildings of modest scale with tiered green roofs recalling pagodas. The design, which presents an architecture of indeterminate boundaries and porous character, endeavors to come across as a contemporary version of Japan’s ‘gate-front’ towns surrounding shrines and temples; and it engages in different ways with the slopes of the terrain: while the two main buildings – the Village House and the Garden House – stand on the central courtyard, the entrance pavilion floats on cascading ponds, and the Tea House sticks out over a steep slope.

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