Frank Lloyd Wright was one of America’s greatest architects; some would even go so far as to call him the greatest American architect. He is best known for his works such as the Kaufmann House/Falling Water, his prairie style homes, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. However, the Imperial Hotel is one of my favorite works by him. Wright was a huge fan of Japanese art and collected art himself, so when he saw an opportunity to get a commission in Tokyo, Japan, he seized it. In 1916 he received the commission for the hotel and sought to combine traditional Japanese architecture with Western motifs. When a powerful earthquake later struck in 1923, it was one of the only things left standing, to Wright’s everlasting pride and joy:
September 8, 1923
Dear Mr. Wright,
The first shock was enough to lay many buildings flat, and … the second shock easily leveled what the first had loosened…Fire billowed from every house and those people who survived the crush and sought places of safety out in the open were killed by the smoke and scorching hot air, roasted by hundreds and thousands.
All steel buildings proved fatal, enough to show that our architects were fools.
What a glory it is to see the Imperial standing amidst the ashes of a whole city!
Glory to you!
Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1968, but the lobby was preserved and recreated at an architecture museum in Nagoya.
Posts tagged imperial hotel.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architectural Block from the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, 1916-1922
Collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art
March 1967 - The old building of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, will be pulled down late this year “to make way for a multi-story structure,” the Japan Times reported. [The Milwaukee Sentinel]
The newest edition to kick off the 2013 LEGO Architecture Landmark Series is the renowned Imperial Hotel of Tokyo, Japan. This famous work by historically renown architect Frank Lloyd Wright is remarkably captured in this scaled down version of the historic building. Although the original structure no longer stands, architecture aficionados can explore the design of this classic building and construct their own personal landmark ringing in at around $95USD.
Edit: Thanks for Post History’s note that this photo of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel is rebuilt at Meijimura near Nagoya, not the complete old one in Tokyo, Japan, which was demolished in 1968.
Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, 1923 (demolished, 1968) — Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was renowned for withstanding the earthquake of 1923, when nearly all other important buildings were destroyed by seismic activity or fire.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel (shown here in pre-WWII Tokyo, Japan) was designed in 1915 and survived the 8.3-magnitude Great Kantō earthquake of 1923.