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Museums, Libraries and Cultural Centers

Cultural Center at Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Ore.

Photo: Bruce Forster

Kengo Kuma and Associates designed the Cultural Center at Portland Japanese Garden to put the landscape in the forefront and architecture as a backdrop. The cultural center is four separate buildings. One, a ticketing pavilion, is at street level, where visitors first experience the garden. The other three are grouped at the top of the hill, just before visitors enter the gate. All the buildings have vegetative roofs and aluminum, porch-like roofs that wrap them and provide a protective canopy. The project required a careful integration with the gardens. The buildings are spaced to open to the garden and suggest a communal village.

Pure and Freeform LLC supplied aluminum, designing a custom finish called Celeste Stone. The aluminum panels are wide and have channels between them that funnel off water. Bassett Construction Inc. installed the roof system, which is unique and was designed specifically for the cultural center. The joints in the upper rainscreen roof panels allow rainwater to drain through to a secondary, stainless steel water diversion system.

Bassett Construction used a larger-than-usual crew to manage the panels, which were fabricated from the largest material available and shipped from Japan. The company also needed to develop additional fall-safety mechanisms, since some of the roof was over steep slopes. Because the roof needed to be walkable, and there were unique wind-load requirements because of the hillside location, Bassett Construction designed a supporting fin system for the underside of the panels. The 20,191-square-foot project was completed in April 2017.