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(Pre 2014)

Idaho Falls is part of the international Sister Cities Program.  Idaho Falls is sistered with Tokai Mura, Japan to promote international understanding and friendship.    In odd-numbered years, a student delegation visits from Tokai Mura and stays with American students in Idaho Falls for a week.  The same years, the Idaho Falls adult delegation visits Tokai for a week.  In even years, students from Idaho Falls  visit Tokai and the Japanese adult delegation visits Idaho Falls.  This repeats every two years.


Why Tokai Mura?  It is probably more than a coincidence that Tokai Mura is an agricultural area specializing in potatoes (sweet) and it is also the primary location for nuclear research in Japan.


The pavilion designer (Edward) has a a Japanese garden at home and has been interested in building structures for it.  Several years ago his family joined the student program.  Edward and his wife (Cheryl) became officers and worked to raise funds to send students to Japan.  When the students went, Edward and Cheryl paid their own way to go as chaperones.  While there, Edwad was able to visit several historic buildings and make many good friends.

Historic home.  Many architectural elements in this home are like the pavilion.  Note the wood details between the two roofs.

A couple of decades ago, Tokai Mura donated a large stone lantern to Idaho Falls.  It was eventually placed in the city park on the island south of  Broadway Bridge.  Several years ago, Clarke Kido started a project to landscape near the lantern.  Judy Sydel and Mike Zaladonis joined in and this grew into a Japanese Garden built by volunteer gardeners.  Paths, bushes, trees and a large deck for public gatherings were installed over a few years.


The garden became a popular destination for photographers and weddings because of its beauty.  


Because of his interest in Japanese architecture, Edward Zaladonis was contacted to build a gate for the garden.  This garden gate was completed in 2012.  


The gate looks simple, but months of planning and  chiseling went into making close-fitting holes for the cross arms to be pressed through.

Another subtle feature is the 1/4 inch thick, 7 inch wide planks of cedar that the roofing is made from.


2013 Review

Pavilion design started in winter 2012/2013.  Traditional design elements, that were also vandalism-resistant, were selected and incorporated into a structure in which the public can relax and enjoy the garden.  The original design had the cross bracing shown above left.  This is common in historic religious buildings but not in public ones.  The cross bracing was changed to be the style shown in the photo of a historic home above.  In the spring of 2013, the city building department requested the design be stamped by a structural engineer.  Mark Andrus (G&S Structural) volunteered an extremely generous amount of his professional time to provide the structural certification.  The original design was structurally sound but most of the structural techniques were non- traditional and required calculations to show that they met codes.  The footings were greatly enlarged to keep the posts from laying over in an earthquake.  The tiles on the roof weigh 8,000 pounds.  Hiding the connection between the footings and the six building posts required multiple rounds of negotiation and redesign.

The approved structural design required the footing be dug down to bedrock.  On the north end of the pavilion, a culvert ran under the footings.  The rusted-out culvert was removed and replaced with a plastic culvert that will last forever.  To make it strong enough to support the footings the culvert was encased in rebar and six inches of concrete.  

Holes were drilled into the diversion dam (with approvals) and rebar was epoxied into them.  


3/4 inch Allthread was anchored into the footings.  The Allthread will bolt to steel plates that go into the wood posts.


A stone wall was built on the north side to contain the concrete fill.


Conduits for power and security systems were laid between the structural footings and the fill concrete that went down to bedrock.

Tom Tawoda and Val Hadden  were frequent volunteers with the footings and are stll regulars.

 Ten cubic yards of concrete were poured into the footings.  Thirty percent of it was mixed by hand. The rest of it was delivered in one-yard trailers over the Taylor Bridge.   Concrete was shoveled out of the trailer and pulled along a wooden trough.  Volunteers earned their pay on concrete days. :) Al Glisendorf, Jeff Heath, Edward, Paul Klimek, Eric Meek, and Oscar Gonzalez.  Except for Al who is retired all the concrete crew works with Edward at Naval Reactors Facility (NRF)

The wood templates in the photo to the left were used to hold the 3/4 inch Allthread in place during the concrete pour.  After the concrete work, the wood templates were replaced with one inch thick steel plates cut by Paul Tremblay (photo below). The steel plates had 16 inch stabs welded to them that would slip into the building posts.

While concrete work was underway, the timbers were being notched and morticed fabricated off-site.  A few weeks in advance of erecting the timbers they were delivered to the site, where they were stained with a mixture of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and industrial colorants blended on site.  The oil finish is an old school recipe that soaks into the wood and after years of applications will almost petrify the wood.

Timbers were erected in a couple of days with a lot of helpers and a jib on the end of a fork lift loaned by Alpine Timber .  There was no way to get a crane onto the island.  Putting a crane on Broadway Bridge was considered but the size and cost was prohibitive.


A double block and double tackle was attached to the end of the jib, giving a

5-to-1 mechanical advantage.  The 10X10 posts had to be accurately positioned to verticle and lowered straight down onto the steel stabs.


Jerry Youngstrom and Brian Zaladonis persuade a bracing arm into its slot.  The timbers were fabricated intentionally with tight fits to be cosmetically accurate with traditional buildings.  Sledge hammers were used to persuade the massive timbers together.   On this scale, a sledge hammer is a precision tool.  Plywood protects the timber.


Jerry Youngstrom loaned and operated the fork lift that held the lifting jig and tackle.  Jerry has also delivered and positioned boulders in the garden with other compact heavy lifting equipment.

The block and tackle (four pullies) are shown  with the jib here.  

Lee Gagner  and Oscar Gonzalez pull on the rope to support the 24 foot long 4X8 while it is fed into its slot.  


Lee Gagner is a retired State Legislator.  Lee is an agressive physical helper and has also helped me find materials and tools through his friends and contacts.  



Below Oscar, Lee, Brian, Edward and Jerry manhandle another 24 foot timber into position to be lifted.

This space is dedicated to the dozens of unsung volunteers who help but never got a good action  picture taken of them.

I appreciate their help.  They did not volunteer for fame but I will continue to try to get an embarasing photo.  

Eric Meese chisels a diagonal notch in a 24 foot, 4X8. Smaller cuts and notches were saved to be field-fit. Eric works at NRF and was a frequent volunteer throughout the year.


This photo shows some of the holes for sixty !/2 inch diameter pins required by the structural design.   When the building was assembled without any pins or bolts, it was measured for square and was 1/2 inch off over 14 feet.  A come-along was used to try and make it perfect.  The joints were so tight without any fasteners that it would not move.   60 pins and  32 bolts were installed anyway to meet code.


Traditional Japanese building are designed to flex in earthquakes.  

Mark Andrew (Alpine Timber) uses a power hand planer to field fit a flat surface on the round timbers.


Mark did the off site fabrication of the timbers.  He donated several hours educating Edward on the wonderful world of timber fabricating while we negotiated many custom techniques.  He also loaned the jib used to raise the pavilion.

Paul Klimek hammers sixty 1/2 inch pins into joints.  Paul was my lead helper through 2013.  When Paul is not volunteering he is working 12 hour days at NRF.


Pins are hammered into holes.  The holes will be plugged with wood plugs to hide them.


The white plywood shown will eventually be covered with stucco.  Traditional Japanese construction is woved bamboo with clay and hardeners covering it.  I decided not to be that authentic and the structural engineer was grateful. 

Lava rock gathering was started in the fall. An Eagle Scout project identified a source of lava rock and gathered a couple of tons to be used in building retaining walls and the overook that will jut into the river at the pavilion.  (If you remimber the scouts name and troop let me know.)


Dave Stoleworthy donated the lava rock from a road into the lava flows on his property.  Without his road and rocks, it would have been nearly impossible to gather the required lava.

Work wrapped up in mid December.  Clete Marlow donated his backhoe to lower the ground at the pavilion and build a hill for landscaping.  It was difficult due to four inches of frozen soil.  The soil was lowered to reveal the floating deck and make room for the 4 inches of small aggregate for the moss garden.  The hill was built in advance  so the soil would settle and be able to support large bolders that are planned in the landscaping.   


Mike Zaladonis was on hand to direct the size and shape of the hill.  Mike is the Japanese Garden Project landscaping leader.  Mike has studied Japanese landscaping for decades and has an impressive garden at his home.  Mike suckered his brother Edward into designing and building a modest pavilion.  Edward only has himself to blame for the scope of the current project.  

Merry Christmas






Happy New Year



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