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Japan Institute Campus Renovation Update

Groundbreaking Scheduled for Fall 2023

The Arts and Administration building on the Japan Institute campus. Photo by Nina Johnson.

In the spring of 2022, Japan Institute, Portland Japanese Garden’s new sibling organization, finalized its purchase of the property that will become its headquarters by the end of 2024. Comprised of four buildings raised between 1914 and 1965, the 3.64 acres of the Japan Institute campus are enveloped by the evergreens of Forest Park and bordered by a sweeping view of Portland below. On this exceptional parcel of land, we will be able to expand our shared experiences in Japanese culture, art, and connection to nature.

The buildings, which will house artist studios, gardener workspaces, accommodations for artists, workshops, demonstrations, and lectures, as well as administrative offices, are a beautiful representation of the time and history they were erected in. However, they must be refreshed, repaired, and renovated to not only fit the needs of Japan Institute’s programming but to be made more accessible for modern needs.

Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden CEO Steve Bloom officially signs the purchase of the Japan Institute campus property.

The process of transforming the campus has now entered the “preconstruction” phase, which includes construction analysis, identifying engineering ideas, and permitting. Over the past few months, we have been working with Urban Resources, a project management service firm, to select a general contractor and partner architect to bring the spaces to life in a way that realizes the vision of Japan Institute while staying within budget in respecting the investments our donors have made thus far.

Related: Learn more about the Japan Institute by clicking here!

We are excited to share that we have retained Precision Construction along with a team from CIDA, a woman-owned architecture and design firm that often works with non-profits like Japan Institute. Precision is a special projects division of Hoffman Construction, an integral partner on Portland Japanese Garden’s Cultural Crossing expansion in 2017. These organizations are joining landscape architecture firm Walker Macy, who were brought on board in 2021.

The Glass Theater at the Japan Institute. Kengo Kuma and his team will redesign this space.

With a modest budget, we are prioritizing artistic and programming spaces ,which include studios for pottery, Japanese textiles, and photography and a garden design and resource center. Additionally, now that Japan has softened its travel restrictions, a project lead from Kengo Kuma & Associates has been finally able to visit Portland to scope out what will become the Glass Theater, an event space that was previously a chapel. As you may recall, Kuma and his team are the same internationally acclaimed architecture firm that designed Portland Japanese Garden’s Cultural Village. In this new venture, Kuma will work in glass art for the first time in his illustrious career with the assistance of our longtime partners and friends at Bullseye Glass Co.

Japan Institute Heads to London

The Japan Institute will hold the second of its six Peace Symposia on six continents in London, England this December. The symposium, titled ” Peacemaking at the Intersection of Culture, Art, and Nature ” will explore the interplay between and convergence of landscapes, architecture, and arts in shaping new civic conversations and efforts for peacebuilding through cultural diplomacy. In addition to this signature program, the Japan Institute will also hold peace receptions, panel discussions, gardening workshops, and present a peace lantern to our partners at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.