Imperial Hotel

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg (2018)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Japan, designed in 1917, famously survived the great Kanto earthquake which struck Tokyo the day the hotel opened in 1923. But it could not survive the will of developers who determined that the air rights above the complex were more valuable than the architecture, and demolished it in 1968. The lobby and entry way were saved, and reconstructed at Meiji Mura, an architectural theme park in Inuyama, Japan.

There was robust debate at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s 2010 conference in Cincinnati about the realities of trying to preserve the context for which Wright designed his work. The setting at Meiji Mura is lovely, but it is not the urban context the hotel was designed for.

Imperial Hotel 001.jpg

Imperial Hotel 002.jpg

The Shinkansen, or bullet train, whisks visitors coming from Tokyo to Nagoya, where they board a local train to Inuyama, and then a bus to the park. We visited the park  in November. Though it was overcast, Japan’s fall colors were magnificent.

Are you unsure of where to stand to photograph the hotel? That’s no problem, there is signage to guide you:

Imperial Hotel 004.jpg

Imperial Hotel 007.jpg

Imperial Hotel 011.jpg

Imperial Hotel 013.jpg

Imperial Hotel 016.jpg

I was photographing the exterior when a kimono-clad woman walked into the frame. At least it wasn’t my Wright friend in his orange parka (this light-hearted reference is for friends in the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy which had its own tour in Japan concurrent with our trip). Kimonos are associated with geisha, but many people – especially tourists – rent kimonos to wear.

Imperial Hotel 018.jpg

In the door, up two steps, and one Japan goal has been realized (others included seeing a baseball game in the Tokyo Dome and feasting on Japanese food including the best tuna I have ever eaten).

Imperial Hotel 025.jpg

Imperial Hotel 027.jpg

Imperial Hotel 066.jpg

Imperial Hotel 031.jpg

Imperial Hotel 033.jpg

Imperial Hotel 036.jpg

Imperial Hotel 040.jpg

Imperial Hotel 045.jpg

Imperial Hotel 048.jpg

Imperial Hotel 052.jpg

Imperial Hotel 059.jpg

Imperial Hotel 060.jpg

Imperial Hotel 062.jpg

But, what about the rear of the structure? I had to look, but it was a bit like peeking behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain.

Imperial Hotel 019.jpg

Imperial Hotel 021.jpg

“Arigato” for joining me on my visit to the hotel:

Imperial Hotel 071.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Imperial Hotel

  1. ah yes, and flw had to fight for the pool, cost-cutters wanting it scrubbed, but the régal ? said he’d cover the costs. wriight said the nearby water would save the hôtel in the event of fire. he was Wright!
    the rooms were remarquable:sunken bath, built-in desk, composite luggage storage, etc. once again too bad, but we did the same thing in Lake Geneva with the hôtel in the 60’s. at least the Japanese preserved Imperial’s elegant entrante and lobby.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s