TOMAS MAIER'S VISIT TO JAPAN

With the announcement of Hotel Okura Tokyo being scheduled to close and undergo renovation in 2015, Tomas Maier visited Japan in October 2014 to witness the mastery and magic of Japan’s Modern Architecure.

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Hotel Okura Tokyo
1962 – Yoshiro Taniguchi and others

With its lobby considered one of the greatest designs of Japanese Modernism, this hotel carries a distinct Japanese aesthetic that is appreciated worldwide. A committee comprised of specialists gathered to come up with the best of architectural and interior design at that time, and the lobby designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi is a collective of the finest Japanese craftsmanship of the period.

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Kunio Maekawa Office
1954 – Kunio Maekawa

Kunio Maekawa, who once worked under Le Corbusier, designed his office in a simple, clean layout, and shared the office with one of the most famours product designers in the world, Sori Yanagi and an architectural photographer.

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Nissay Theater
1963 – Togo Murano

One of the most acknowledged works of architect Togo Murano, the unique ceiling is built with pearl oysters and the organic design is carefully thought out to have the best sound effect within the theater.

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St.Mary’s Cathedral, Tokyo
1964 – Kenzo Tange

Along with the Yoyogi National Stadium built around the same time, this cathedral represents an architectural feat that brought worldwide recognition to Tange and the Japanese Architecture world. When looked upon from the above, the architecture looks like a cross.

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Yoyogi National Stadium
1964 – Kenzo Tange

Built as one of the facilities for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Tange’s innovative structural design creates dramatic sweeping curves that appear to effortlessly drape from two large, central supporting cables which was at that time the most innovative technology yet.

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TAKAMATSU

Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium
1964 – Kenzo Tange

Built around the same time as the Yoyogi National Stadium, this unusual building has the dynamic shape of a ship and a curving roof with a suspended structure. Since 2007, it has been prohibited to enter the arena portion due to earthquake resistance issues. No agreement has been reached so far to make the building earthquake-resistant, and it has been closed since September 2014.

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Kagawa Prefectural Government Office
1958 – Kenzo Tange
This is one of Tange’s representative works, and has a strong impact as a model for postwar government architecture. It features a lobby with columns that are situated so as to naturally lead visitors from the road to the site. The mural on the first floor lobby is by Kagawa Prefecture native artist, Genichiro Inokuma, and the furnishings and objets by Isamu Kenmochi are the originals.

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Photos: Tetsuya Ito

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