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Unformatted text preview: 5, was a keen admirer of East Asian art,
acquiring Buddhist statuary and an extensive collection of Japanese
woodblock prints from the Edo period. Among the most daring innovators in modern architecture, he forcefully advocated an “organic” approach to design and construction, by which he meant that the architect
should not only seek to achieve unity and harmony in the functional features of a building but also allow it—whether home, office building, or
hotel—to emerge organically within its particular setting and social context. Facing on Hibiya Park, not far from the emperor’s palace, the Imperial Hotel was a low, rambling structure made of reinforced concrete
with a brick-encrusted and heavily decorated exterior (fig. 70). In the
interior, Wright made dramatic use of space, raising and lowering ceiling height. Determined to achieve total unity of structural planning
and decoration, he even went so far as to design personally the contents
of the guest rooms, including beds, chairs, tables, and wall hangings.
To the undying dismay of its many admirers, Wright’s original Imperial
Hotel, having survived both the 1923 Tokyo earthquake and the bombing raids of World War II, was demolished in the late 1960s to make way
for the present multistory New Imperial Hotel. But the old structure
remains vivid in historical memory, not only for its intrinsic qualities as
an architectural masterpiece but also as a direct statement to the Japanese by one of the most powerfully individualistic Western artists of the
early twentieth century.
One of the most interesting aspects of Wright’s impact on Japanese
architecture after World War I was that in part it was a kind of feeding
back of influences Wright had himself received earlier from the Japanese. Westerners had displayed interest in Japanese architecture, especially the traditional house, since at least the 1870s. The American Culture in the Present Age 329 Fig. 70 Old Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Edward Morse (1838–1925), known for his disc...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13