Kengo Kuma: Portland Japanese Garden, Botond & Balazs Bognar 2019

This is a beautiful and informative book about the Japanese Garden that has graced Portland, Oregon’s West Hills area since 1967.  Originating in Portland’s outreach to Japan in post-WWII by becoming Sapporo’s sister city in 1959, the garden originally comprised 12 acres of a defunct zoo. The garden significantly increased its size, offerings, and popularity with the building of the Cultural Village in 2010 which was designed by the world famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the architect of the Dundee V&A, the National Stadium in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, and many other buildings world-wide.  The book gives a fine overview of the new facilities including a visitor center, a cafe, a learning center and a garden house, all nestled into the beautiful hillside plantings, but the real treasures of this book are the photographs of the gardens and the buildings.  They draw upon the traditional Japanese values of simplicity, relationship to nature, and quiet contemplative Zen meditation.  Since I am going to Portland in October for a Winthrop House reunion, this book was particularly of interest.  Eager to see the real gardens and experience the beauty, serenity, and quiet that are the essence of Japanese culture and style!

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