Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shofuso: Japanese House and Garden

Heizaemon Ito, appointed to oversee the construction in Nagoya, Japan in January 1953 and pre-assembles it in preparation for its journey to New York.  Before Shofuso (Japanese House and Garden) made its appearance on the western banks of Fairmount Park, it was the publics favorite "House in the Garden" exhibition featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

The "Japanese House in the Garden" at the MoMA was officially open to the public June 19th 1954.  After attracting a quarter of a million viewers within 2 seasons (almost 3 times the amount of visitors of the other two houses that were featured), it was closed on October 16th 1955.  There were many offers as to the permanent relocation of Shofuso, but after much time and consideration Fairmount Park was finally appointed as its new home.
The Nio-mon Gate, also known as 'The Japanese Pagota' stood in the exact location where Shofuso stands today.  It was originally shown at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis in 1904, but was relocated to Philadelphia 1908.  Funded by John T. Morris, a traditional Japanese style garden was built around it, which included a lotus pond in 1909.  After thriving for over 4 decades, a fire burnt down the actual Nio-mon Gate structure on October 19th 1958, leaving the surrounding gardens to be the perfect home for Shofuso.

The master minds behind Shofuso are Junzo Yoshimura being the main architect, Tansai Sano who was responsible for landscaping and garden design, and finally the master carpenter Heizaemon Ito building the original structure in Nagoya in 1949.  With the 17th century Shoin-Zukuri inspired design, the Japanese-American Society was able to raise about $51,000 to represent the classic architecture as precisely as you would see it in Japan.  This included the use of "hinoki" (cypress wood) that was specially harvested by The National Forestry Agency of Japan for this project.
Shofuso Interiors


Here is a map of Fairmout Park where you can see all the hot spots.


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