Restoring the Japanese Garden
The Huntington is undertaking a $6.8 million restoration and expansion of the Japanese Garden in time for the historic garden’s 100th anniversary in 2012. Among the oldest and most elaborate landscapes of its kind in America, the Japanese Garden has been visited by more than 30 million people since it opened to the public in 1928. It remains one of the institution’s most popular destinations.
In preparation for the project, a comprehensive master plan was developed by the staff and Board committees. Experts from both the U.S. and Japan were involved, including master designers from Kyoto representing generations of experience. In the initial phase, The institution will address deferred maintenance issues, make physical and programmatic enhancements, provide better handicapped access, and expand educational facilities.
Key elements of the project include:
- Restoration of the garden’s historical core, concentrating on the Japanese House and the infrastructure of the original ponds;
- Completion of a new ceremonial tea garden, which will have as its
centerpiece a traditional tea house;
- Improvement of public pathways, basic infrastructure, and irrigation
systems that will make the garden more accessible and sustainable
The restoration of the Japanese Garden will be funded entirely through charitable support. Gifts of all sizes are welcome and will be recognized appropriately. Acknowledgment opportunities >
The Japanese House
Aside from the dramatic drum bridge, the Japanese house is the most recognizable structure in the garden. Built in Japan in the late 19th century, the house is furnished in the traditional style with sliding shoji panels, tatami mats, and tokonoma alcoves for scroll paintings, bonsai, and ikebana flower arrangements, the latter provided weekly—since 1957—by members of the San Marino League. Made entirely of wood, the house requires careful restoration. The refurbishment of the house represents a significant portion of the fundraising needs in this initiative and will include:
- Interior and exterior finishes restored
- Restoration of architectural details
- Replacement of roof
- Stabilization of foundation
- Renovation of upper level window system
Gifts needed for this portion of the project: $1.5 million.
New Japanese Tea Garden
As a result of a bequest by the late Mary B. Taylor Hunt, the development of a ceremonial tea garden is on the horizon. A longtime volunteer and Overseer, Hunt actively supported the Japanese Garden for nearly 50 years and had expressed the wish to support the creation of a separate space for the performance of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. A new traditional Tea House and Tea Garden will be developed that will majestically overlook the ridge southwest of the existing Japanese House. The Huntington has retained the services of Japanese garden designers from Kyoto who will ensure a harmonious coexistance with the historic Japanese Garden. The Hunt endowment and a major gift from Frank and Toshie Mosher will cover a portion of the project’s cost, with the remainder to be secured through additional gifts and grants.
A traditional Japanese tea house called “the Arbor of Pure Breeze” was constructed in 1964 at the Pasadena Buddhist Cultural Center. In 2010, this organization decided to donate the tea house to The Huntington to serve as the jewel of the newly created traditional tea garden. The building was designed and constructed by the Sotoji Construction firm in Kyoto. Sotoji is renowned for being masters of the trade with many generations of experience in creating traditional ceremonial wood structures. This same firm will dismantle, package and transport the structure to Japan where they will perform a complete overhaul and restoration of its components. They will then reassemble the tea house at The Huntington. Key components of this portion of the project include:
- Establishment of Tea Garden
- Restoration/transportation of the Tea House
Gifts needed for this portion of the project: $2 million.
Garden, Ponds and Infrastructure
Restoring the complex series of original ponds, streams, stone embankments, and paths is necessary after almost 100 years of use. This work represents a significant portion of the capital expense, but is critical to preserving the garden’s historic core. In addition, upgrading the irrigation infrastructure is necessary for water conservation and protection of the botanical collections in the garden. It is important to do all of this work at the same time to minimize damage to restored infrastructure caused by heavy machinery. As a result of this work, the entire landscape will be returned to an excellent and sustainable condition. Components of this portion of the project include:
- Restore paths, bridges, garden features
- Develop additional pathways to increase accessibility
- Renovation of pond system
- Irrigation infrastructure upgrade
Gifts needed for this portion of the project: $3.3 million.
For information on funding opportunities in support of this historic renovation project, please email Randy Shulman
, vice president for advancement, or call 626-405-2293.