Rockford, IL

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Modern and efficient electronic faucets from Sloan fit visitor center’s design and eco-friendly mission.
The Anderson Japanese Gardens Visitor Center in Rockford, Ill., was designed to invite further exploration by visitors to tour the natural garden setting right down to the oriental-styled electronic faucets.

"It may be the closest we can get to an authentic Japanese garden without the trans-Atlantic flight," according to John Anderson, original owner of the garden. "For the visitor center, we wanted Japanese character with a warm and inviting ambience even in the restrooms’ faucets."

Custom, modern and efficient electronic faucets and fixtures by Sloan Valve Company were designed to incorporate cleanliness, to save water and help the environment, while keeping the oriental design's integrity. Electronic faucets and plumbing fixtures were a requirement for their cleanliness, to save water and help the environment, while maintaining modern design and the eco-friendly integrity of the visitor center.

The center's asymmetrical design was not intended to duplicate traditional Japanese architecture, but rather act as a design interpretation that evokes the feel and flavor of traditional Japanese design while complementing the natural setting of the gardens.

On the exterior, a low sloping roof with long overhangs and copper roofing evoke Japanese forms. Stucco, wood panels and wood trim, as well as post and beam timber structure, traditional to Japanese architecture, is also expressed on the exterior.

Other elements of traditional Japanese architecture include interior wood trim hand-selected for vertical wood grain and Shoji panels constructed in the highest level of craftsmanship. A water fountain with koi fish, a fireplace and Japanese paper-shade light fixtures are integrated into the interior design. True, traditional Japanese architecture by Japanese craftsmen exists in such areas as the garden’s tea house, bridge and gateway.

To "open up" the administrative offices on the lower level, located on a 100-year-old flood plain, a concrete wall concealed in a berm and a 5' high glass floodwall of 1" thick structural glass was constructed to overlook the lower-level rock garden. "We met with the City of Rockford, Ill., Code Department to meet code requirements on a flood plain," according to Anderson.

Trees that had to be cut down were made into benches and tables. Skylights diffuse sunlight onto the Soji panels. A modern sprinkler system is installed and discretely painted to match the surrounding wood tone. Energy-efficient heating and cooling units back up the conservation effort.

All materials for the center were made in the United States, including ceramic tile, Soji panels, roofing and wood finishes, with one exception – the fireplace was made in France.

The multi-million-dollar, 15,300-sq.-ft. visitor center provides the public with a stunning threshold to the magnificence of the nation’s premier Japanese garden. Anderson Japanese Gardens is recognized as the best Japanese garden in North America and selected as one of Illinois' 15 great places by the American Institute of Architects.

It may be the closest we can get to an authentic Japanese garden without the trans-Atlantic flight. For the visitor center, we wanted Japanese character with a warm and inviting ambience even in the restrooms’ faucets.

John Anderson

Owner