See 10,000 Years of History Live at Kubota Garden

See 10,000 Years of History Live at Kubota Garden

Last Friday, the Kubota Garden Foundation kicked off “Rock, People, Chisels” — a two-week long project to build an 8-foot tall ishigaki or dry stone stacked rampart base for the new Terrace Overlook at Kubota Garden.

Here from Japan to lead the project are father and son 14th and 15th generation stone masons Junji and Suminori Awata from the famed Ano-shu lineage in Japan and Tetsuro Tanabe, a master stone splitter. Helping them will be 15 stonemasons and devotees who have traveled from as far as Japan, North Carolina, Michigan and California for the privilege of helping and watching these masters at work.

Dry stone stacking has been around for at least 10,000 years, and the Awata family has mastered the dry-laid stone wall building techniques used in the construction of Japanese castles pre-dating the early 16th Century.

First, the master masons will sort through more than 300 tons of High Cascade granite from local quarries and then set them into place by hand, without use of mortar, to form the base of the Terrace Overlook. Additionally, 250 tons of 2″ to 4″ basalt quarry spall will be used as back-fill in the construction of this ishigaki.

“The wall building workshop is more than just a construction project,” says Suminori. “It is an expression of Japanese craftsmanship, and a cultural bridge between East and West.”The overlook platform affords a wonderful vista across the Spring Pond down into the Garden from the south, and peek-a-boo views back toward the Entry Gate, and will provide a stage for informal events, entertainment and casual viewing.

Once the base is complete, Seattle Parks and Recreation crews will construct the pavilion and landscape the site. The total project is estimated to cost $375,000 and is funded by a combination of City dollars, grant funding and private philanthropy.

The public is invited to see work underway daily from 8 am to 4 pm through the Completion Celebration scheduled for Wed., Aug. 20, at 2 pm. There is no admission charge, although donations to the Kubota Garden Foundation are encouraged and appreciated.

Kubota Garden is located at 9817 55th Ave. S. in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Southeast Seattle. Photo/Kubota Garden Foundation


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