Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to the new terrace overlook dedication at Kubota Garden

HWA - KG Terrace PlatformSeattle Parks and Recreation and the Kubota Garden Foundation invite the community to a celebration for the new terrace overlook at Kubota Garden on Thursday, May 21, 2015 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Kubota Garden, 9817 55th Ave. S.  The ribbon cutting event includes a Shinto blessing, music by Amazing Grace Christian School-Renton Preparatory Middle High School and light refreshments.

The new overlook structure, located at the north end of the garden above the Spring Pond, provides a much-needed informal event space and casual viewing area. Bob Hoshide of Hoshide Wanzer Williams Architects designed the structure. It is carved into a sloping hillside and connects the upper terrace with views to the main entry gate and pond. The overlook includes a stone support wall, crushed rock patio, granite pavement floor and a beautiful timber  structure, complete with a railing designed by local artist Gerard Tsutakawa, and integrated paths and landscaping.

As part of the project, Stone masons from around the country joined Jyunji and Suminori Awata, 14th- and 15th- generation Japanese stone masons to constructed an eight-foot tall “ishi-gaki” or dry-laid stone wall during a workshop organized by Kentaro Kojima of Marenakos Rock Center.  The overlook’s stone wall uses a gravity wall system and was constructed using a traditional method of splitting and stacking the large granite stones. During the workshop, stone masons sorted through more than 300 tons of stone. The masons then sized, split and set the wall into place.

The idea to bring the Awatas to Seattle came from Kojima who attended their workshop in Ventura, Calif. in 2010. “Kentaro came back from the workshop and he was so jazzed,” Kubota Garden Foundation President Joy Okazaki said. “He was determined to do one in the Northwest.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation staff including the survey crew, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, carpenters, cement crew, electricians, plumbers, drainage crew, landscape crew and Kubota Garden Parks staff all contributed to the overlook.  Survey and heavy equipment crews worked with Ohno Construction to prepare the Kubota Garden site for the stone workshop and when the stone platform was in place, Seattle Parks carpentry, electrician, plumbers, and other staff built the pavilion structure and integrated paths.

“The new overlook is a beautiful new cultural asset for Kubota Garden,” said Christopher Williams, Acting Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “Seattle Parks is grateful to the many talented and generous people coming together to create this sustainable community gathering space.”

The Kubota Park Foundation’s successful fundraising campaign included funding from 4Culture, the Seattle Parks Foundation and generous private contributions.  The new overlook represents history, culture and public/private collaboration to further the Kubota Garden Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation missions.

Kubota Garden is a stunning landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The City acquired the property, which is an historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota. Kubota was a horticultural pioneer when he began merging Japanese design techniques with North American materials in his display garden in 1927. Tom Kubota, Fujitaro’s son was the first to suggest an overlook structure at the current location. The garden is a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and rock out-croppings with a rich array of plant material.

More information about the workshop visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kilmEJoQ0VE&feature=youtu.be  For more information about the event visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kubota-Garden/144013716362 or contact Karen O’Connor at 206-233-7929 or karen.o’connor@seattle.gov.