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Portland's Japanese Gardens Getting an Elegant Expansion Courtesy of Kengo Kuma

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma released renderings for an addition to Portland's popular Japanese Gardens earlier this week, showcasing a minimalist, elemental take on the "monzenmachi" concept, traditional village structures built outside of religious sites. His first American project will expand the entrance to the 5.5-acre hilltop garden, which draws more than 300,000 visitors annually, with 11,000 square feet of new construction. A cluster of elegant buildings partially surrounded by a 22-foot-tall granite castle wall, including a tea house and village house, will surround the Tateuchi Courtyard, replacing the current entrance and providing room for performances, a gift shop and a library. Visitors will instead enter further down the hillside at a new welcome center surrounded by a series of terraced lotus ponds. Opened in 1967, the gardens are renowned as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Local firm THA Architecture and Walker Macy landscape architects will also contribute to the project, which includes a moss hillside garden and bonsai terrace, and is scheduled to break ground this month and close the gardens from September to March 2016. The Oregonian reports that the Garden has already raised $20 million of the $33.5 million needed for the expansion.

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