Sign up to be emailed when new events are posted to the web site.
Japanese House and Garden to open restored 1876 Centennial Exposition Buildings
Say konnichiwa こんにちはto the new Sakura Pavilion during cherry blossom season and all year long!
Shofuso Japanese House & Garden (March 7, 2012)
PHILADELPHIA – March 5, 2012 – The Friends of the Japanese House and Garden announce the grand opening of the brand new Sakura Pavilion, to be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, March 31 – April 1, on the grounds of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The Sakura Pavilion is two brick buildings that remained in Fairmount Park from the 1876 Centennial Exposition which have been restored and combined with a renovated flagstone patio to create year-round multi-use space. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden with Sakura Pavilion, located at Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives in Fairmount Park, is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the renovation of the Sakura Pavilion today.
For the first time since being chartered in 1982, the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG), which administers the site, will have a physical presence year-round at Shofuso, finally completely fulfilling its mission to preserve, maintain, and interpret the site at the year-round indoor programming space in one of the two newly restored buildings. The second building will serve as a workroom and storage facility.
Media and the public are invited to attend the Sakura Pavilion Opening during Cherry Blossom Season with Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Fumio Iwai of the Consulate General of Japan in New York, and other VIPs on Saturday, March 31, at 11:30 am when the official breaking of a Sake Barrel will commence the weekend’s celebrations.
“With the addition of the new Sakura Pavilion to the Japanese House and Garden, our attraction will have more flexibility to accommodate visitors across the seasons,” said Kim Andrews, the Executive Director of the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden with Sakura Pavilion. “We are profoundly proud of the longevity of the Japanese presence on this site, from the first Japanese garden in North America and the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, to the installation of the Japanese House in 1955 to the renovated Pavilion of today.”
The Fairmount Park’s Planning, Preservation and Development section secured funding to restore the exterior of two comfort station (bathroom) buildings from the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to their original appearance and preserve the structures, two of only four Centennial buildings surviving in their original locations. These comfort stations serviced the grand 1876 Horticulture Hall, the site of today’s Horticultural Center, built in the 1960s. City staff offered the use of the structures to FJHG, and FJHG was awarded a Historic Preservation grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program to adaptively re-use the buildings. The $184,300 grant is the largest capital grant in the history of the FJHG. There will be a small Japanese garden of existing Japanese maple trees at the site in addition to the flagstone patio between the buildings for programming and events.
PRESERVATION AND CONSTRUCTION
In 2012, Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG) received funding from Heritage Philadelphia Program of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to partner with the City of Philadelphia and restore two of four remaining buildings from the 1876 International Centennial Exposition.
Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation department secured funding to restore the exterior of two comfort station (bathroom) buildings from the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to their original appearance. This will preserve the structures, two of only four Centennial buildings surviving in their original locations. These comfort stations serviced the grand 1876 Horticultural Hall, the site of today’s Horticulture Center, built in the 1970s. As part of Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park’s Planning, Preservation and Development Department, led by Director Stephanie Craighead and Preservation and Development Administrator Theresa Stuhlman, offered the use of the structures to FJHG.
The cost of the city’s portion of the restoration was $305,000 and FJHG’s adaptive reuse capital expense was $140,000. Masonry conservation was conducted by Milner+Carr Conservation, window and door conservation was conducted by Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, and interior adaptive reuse was conducted by Hanson General Contracting.
OPENING AND SPRING-TIME CELEBRATIONS
The Japanese House is celebrating the grand opening of the Sakura Pavilion with a month of exciting activities. From March 31 through the end of April, get to know Shofuso’s history in Philadelphia and the new Pavilion under the cherry trees with a spring-time visit.
Starting March 31, 2012, Shofuso is open on weekends for Cherry Blossom season in April, 11 am – 5pm. Starting May 1, Shofuso opens for the full season on Wed – Fri: 10 am – 4 pm and Sat & Sun: 11 am – 5pm. Admission: $6 adults/$4 students, seniors, children ages 3–18/children under 3. Other events during the 2012 Spring Season will be:
- Sat. & Sun. March 31 – April 1: GRAND OPENING WEEKEND – Saturday, March 31 will be a kagami biraki (ceremonial sake cask breaking) to inaugurate the new Sakura Pavilion and open the Shofuso 2012 season! Throughout Opening Weekend, enjoy the Shofuso Views photography exhibition, taiko drumming by KyoDaiko, kamishibai storytelling, origami crafts, and other activities for the whole family. 11 am - 5 pm. Free. Sakura Pavilion.
- March 31 - April 29: Shofuso Colors I: Shofuso Views Exhibition – Photography exhibition by Aaron Mannino. Daily during open hours. Free. Sakura Pavilion.
- Wed. and Thurs., April 4-5: Family Spring Break at Shofuso. 10 am – 4 pm. Free with admission.
- Sat., April 14: Nodate Cherry Blossom Tea – Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony on Shofuso's veranda under the weeping cherry. 1 pm & 2:30 pm. $35 non-member/$30 member.
- Sun., April 15: Sakura Sunday – Join Shofuso and Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia for the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Additional festival entrance fee to access the Horticultural Center grounds and Shofuso. Free admission and activities at Sakura Pavilion. Ikebana Exhibition free at Sakura Pavilion. 11 am – 4 pm. $5 non-member/member & under 14 free.
- Sun., April 22: East Meets West Over Tea – Japanese Tea Ceremony at Shofuso, then tour the colonial historic house Cedar Grove to learn about tea in early America. With the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Register at 215-235-7469 or www.philamuseum.org. 1 pm – 4 pm. $50 non-member/$40 PMA & FJHG members.
- Thurs., April 26: Annual Senju Day Celebration – Japan and the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 Philadelphia – Stacey Swigart, curator of the Centennial Collection at neighboring Please Touch Museum, presents on Japan's 1876 inaugural presence in the US and the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Followed by a presentation about the Senju Museum in Japan and a light reception. 5:30 pm. $10 non-member/FJHG members free. Sakura Pavilion
- Sun., April 29: Japanese Tea Ceremony – Traditional Japanese tea ceremony conducted by Omotesenke Eastern Region Chapter (Domonkai). A formal "thick tea" will be conducted in the tea house. 1 pm & 2 pm. $30 non-member/$25 member. Thick Tea at 2 pm & 3 pm. $40 non-member/$35 member.
- May 3 – July 3: Shofuso Colors II: The Way Home – garden art installation by artist Aaron Mannino, composed of a 7-panel folding screen (byoubu). Within this piece, east and west synthesize. The byoubu flanks initial entry into the house, confronting and enrapturing visitors by a vibrant, complex, colorful display when they least expect it in Shofuso’s early summer foliage.
- May 4-7: Children’s Day – Field trip days for school groups at Shofuso, Sakura Pavilion, and the Horticultural Center. Includes taiko, Story of Shofuso Kamishibai, ikebana, koi nobori craft, Ningyo dolls.
A new kamishibai (oral Japanese storytelling with picture cards), The Story of Shofuso as told by Toro the Japanese Lantern, has been written and illustrated about the Japanese House and Garden. This kamishibai has a narrative arc from 1876 through present day. The kamishibai will be premiered at the Grand Opening and then will be used in public and educational programs at the attraction. Register online at www.shofuso.com
HISTORY OF THE JAPANESE HOUSE AND GARDEN
The Japanese House and Garden began as part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Designed by Yoshimura Junzo in 1953, the house was built in Nagoya, Japan, using traditional materials and techniques. The house was built as part of "The House in the Museum Garden" series and moved to Philadelphia when the exhibition closed. [To view a short documentary from 1954-55 on the Museum of Modern Arts’ exhibition of the Japanese House, visit http://youtu.be/cq1YbjWzD78.] The house was given to the City of Philadelphia and reassembled at the current site in 1958 with a garden designed by Sano Tansai.
The ground on which the Japanese House now stands has had a Japanese structure and landscaping almost continuously since the 1876 Centennial Exposition, when the Japanese Bazaar and Dwelling were in the area. This was the site of the first Japanese garden in North America. From 1905 until a fire in 1955, the site was occupied by a Niomon gate from a Japanese Buddhist temple, built in the early 14th century. This gate had been brought to the United States for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis, MO, and donated by the Japanese consul.
Over the years, the house has undergone many changes and renovations, but it’s essential Japanese character has remained intact. As part of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, with the support of the Japanese government, the house and garden underwent expensive repairs. Also, in the 1970s, the fusuma (interior sliding doors) murals were destroyed by vandals and replaced with plain paper. Although the house continued to be owned by the City of Philadelphia, a private nonprofit organization called the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden organized to care and preserve this unique site in 1982. In 1999, the Friends of the Japanese House raised $1.2 million to replace the hinoki bark roof.
In April 2007, the Japanese House installed new fusuma murals created by the revered contemporary Japanese artist, Hiroshi Senju. The murals, titled Waterfall, replaced those destroyed by vandals and appear on the fusuma doors and in the large alcove (tokonoma) in the main room. The murals combine the Japanese tradition of placing contemporary murals in civic buildings that can usually only be seen in Japan. The Senju murals at Shofuso are the first of their kind in the United States.
FJHG’s adaptive reuse of Sakura Pavilion has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program. Sakura Pavilion was restored and historically preserved by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
ABOUT THE JAPANESE HOUSE AND GARDEN WITH SAKURA PAVILION
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the installation of its contemporary paintings in 2007. Shofuso’s Sakura Pavilion is two restored 1876 brick buildings with a renovated flagstone terrace and is year-round space for programming, classes, meetings, events, and exhibitions. Shofuso is administered by the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden, a private nonprofit organization, which has administered, operated, funded, and preserved the city-owned site since 1982. For more information and to register, call 215-878-5097 or visit shofuso.com. Follow on Facebook at facebook.com/Shofuso.
PDFs for download