Editor’s note: This story was written by a high school student in Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program. This story is part of a special back-to-school issue.
By Timothy Locke
Over the past two decades, the Seattle Chinese Garden Association has planned to build a 4.6-acre traditional Chinese garden in the arboretum of South Seattle Community College (at 6000 16th Ave. S.W) in West Seattle. This site, upon completion, will become one of the largest Chinese gardens outside of China. On July 28, 26 artisans from Seattle’s sister city, Chonqing, came to Seattle to work on the first of four courtyards, the Spring Courtyard.
The Spring Courtyard, dubbed “Knowing the Spring,” will be centered around the existing Song Mei Pavilion. The courtyard is estimated to have a grand opening to the public by the end of October. The skilled artisans are supervising the construction of the traditional elements of the garden and are living on site.
The Seattle Chinese Garden will be the first garden in America to authentically depict the Sichuan style. In this style, the four elements of the garden, water, stone, plants, and architecture, will be represented through ponds, stone bridges, a vast array of Chinese plants, and embroidered pavilions. In addition to the four traditional elements, the garden will have a “four seasons” theme. Not only will each section of the garden represent a season, but the appearance of the garden will also change to fit the seasons as flowers bloom in the spring and leaves change color in the fall.
The garden itself is a $30-million project that is estimated to be completed in the next decade. It will feature 12 buildings, including an education center, and an 85-foot Floating Clouds Pavilion that will hover over the garden, placed on an axis with the most famous Seattle landmark, the Space Needle.
With the arrival of the Chonqing artisans, the Seattle Chinese Garden Association sees their plans being developed right before their eyes. ♦
For more information about the Chinese Garden, visit their website at www.seattlechinesegarden.org.