The Huntington Library broke ground on a major expansion to its Chinese Garden, also known as “Liu Fang Yuan,” the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, on Aug. 28, 2018.
The new features will include a stargazing tower, a new terrace, an orchid pavilion, the “Flowery Brush Library,” and a pavilion encircled by jade.
“The new features will increase the garden’s footprint from the initial 3.5 acres to its long-planned 12 acres, making it one of the largest classical-style Chinese gardens in the world,” stated the library in a press release.
The final phase of construction will cost approximately $23 million, with investments ranging from $1 million to $3 million provided by several contributors. With funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, the combined total cost of the garden will reach about $53 million.
The project is a collaborative effort from an international partnership between Chinese and American architects, contractors, and craftsmen, in an effort to ensure the garden remains authentic while meeting federal regulations for seismic safety and accessibility.
The library’s incoming president, Karen R. Lawrence, said, “I think in this location, as I mentioned, 330,000 people of Chinese heritage are living in this area. I think this garden belongs to them.”
Phillip E. Bloom, the Curator of the Chinese Garden in Huntington Library, talked about why the garden is meaningful and inspiring not just for people with Chinese heritage, but others as well.
“Westerners are usually really surprised when they come to the Chinese Garden, because we think of gardens as being just about plants. In the Chinese Garden, there’s lots of architecture. There are rocks. There’s a lot of artwork. And there’s calligraphy on all of the buildings. There’s paintings,” said Bloom.
The garden was inspired by 16th-century scholars’ gardens of Suzhou, China.
During its construction, the garden will stay open to visitors, while the new sections will be revealed in February 2020.