Monday, October 28, 2013

It’s just not Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel survived the 1923 Tokyo earthquake and the bombing of the city in WW2 but not the bulldozer in 1968. No, that’s not quite true, a third of it survived both.
What do you do if have an itch for architecture that just won't quit? If you’re Dr. Yoshiro Taniguchi you find a rich friend (Mr. Moto-o Tsuchikawa) and start collecting buildings. Catch a train and a bus out of Nagoya and you can see them dotted around a lake and up the sides of the surrounding valley. There’s a cathedral (really), a bunch of administrative buildings, classic houses, a couple of bridges and the front end of the Imperial Hotel.

The visitors to this architectural soup were mostly kids in support of the reliance of museums worldwide on school trips bulking up attendance numbers. They were mostly bemused and probably wondering why they'd been dragged so far to see what they could see every day - buildings that is.
As for Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel, what's to say? The idea that the entrance hall and lobby of one of his buildings would be rescued and plonked between the Miyazu District Court building and the Iwakura Substation of the Nagoya Railroad Company would, if he were not dead, surely keep him up nights.