The city of Portland commissioned Kengo Kuma & Associates with the design of a new Cultural Village inside the Portland Japanese Garden. The garden itself, surrounded by mature Douglas firs, appears to be a piece of Japan, transplanted. The Architects modeled their design on the Japanese tradition of monzenmachi, or gate town preceding a scared precinct, aiming to create a flowing, accessible community capable of hosting a range of activities, from public events to educational affairs.
The Cultural Village consists of three pavilions surrounding a courtyard, a group of complex cubic and rectilinear volumes that integrated seamlessly into the surrounding gardens. The use of hipped, double-tiered roofs in these new pavilions is a nod to Japanese architectural tradition. The upper levels of the roof are covered with local plants and blend into the landscape, while the lower levels shield users from the heavy rains of the Pacific Northwest. The lower roofs, with tapered and thin eaves, which were a construction challenge, were made possible through the use of aluminum panels finished in a custom print to resemble a textured natural material. The lower roof finish, provided by Pure + FreeForm, was printed on 3mm thick aluminum sheets using a customized offset gravure process. The finished aluminum sheets were then formed into the tapered eave panels. Natural wood forms the soffits, louvers, and exterior walls.