Kimberly Robinson
The Seattle Chinese Garden, "Knowing the Spring Courtyard" is nearly complete with work proceeding quickly on the project since the 'final beam' was put in place a few weeks ago. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

SLIDESHOW: Seattle Chinese Garden nears completion

The Seattle Chinese Garden, located on 4.6 acres just north of the campus at South Seattle Community College, is speeding along with the 50 x 70- foot welcoming courtyard — the first major structure nearly complete. Cement pavers are being added quickly and a crane was brought in to help lift in and position heavier elements in the project. One of these elements, a stand of four vertical stones is made of "Bamboo Wood" that are quarried stalagmites from Zhe Jiang province in China.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

Also close to completion are a source pond for the other water features of the courtyard, wooden railings and a single wooden window, and other stone work.

Jim Dawson the Seattle based architect who has worked on the project off and on for two decades said, "It shocks me when I go back and look at photographs of that period," referring to the placing of the final beam a few weeks ago," now when I see them I see they were quite a ways from being done. They've done an incredible amount of work in that time, including the stone work, the paving of the courtyard, the windows, the stucco, painting and the roof tiles."

The artisans have also built a raw stone structure he called a "Stone Mountain" which was done last week but, "They didn't like it so they took it apart and rebuilt the entire thing," Dawson said. "It may be the purest form of artistry in China. It's really the most meaningful."

Joe Phillips, Assistant Construction Manager for the project said, "We're doing pretty well. A lot of the landscaping is going to take place here in November. We're making great progress."

The artisans are now building the rockery for the water feature and the garden corner.

While the exact date for the opening of the courtyard is not yet set it is anticipated to be in late fall, with a formal dedication in spring 2011.

Public tours are available to observe constructionsee master Chinese artisans at work

Wednesdays 1:30 pm; Saturdays 10 am and 1:30 pm

Docent-led program (90 minutes) begins with an illustrated presentation on the cultural roots of Chinese gardens, followed by a visit to Knowing the Spring Courtyard. $5 suggested donation. Wear comfortable walking shoes; reservations not necessary. Special group tours can be arranged.

Location: Drive into north entrance of South Seattle Community College (1600 16th Ave. SW). Drive past arboretum and Chan Education Center. Turn left into small parking lot. Look for signs directing you to a classroom.

For information: www.seattlechinesegarden.org or 206-764-5219

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