Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel
In 1915, the imperial household of Japan invited Frank Lloyd Wright to build the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. And for the next seven years, the hotel was Wright's consuming passion. When its flexible, "natural" design enabled the hotel to withstand the violent earthquake of 1923, which razed nearly every other large building in Tokyo, its survival provided strong confirmation of Wright's principles or organic architecture. As Wright scholar Cary James points out in his Introduction, "For Wright the builder, few structures had more meaning."
Despite its undeniable architectural attributes, however - floating cantilever construction, masterly shaping and ordering of interior space, and innumerable felicities of design and detail - the hotel eventually fell victim to changing times. Its popularity waned, subway construction beneath the building caused structural damage, and heavy-handed remodeling marred its integrity. Finally, extreme pressures for more intensive use of the land it occupied became overwhelming. In spite of worldwide efforts to save it, the building was demolishing in 1967.
Fortunately, the splendors of the Imperial Hotel have been carefully preserved and documented in this striking pictorial volume. Authentic floor plans and 63 captioned photographs provide lasting documentation of an architectural landmark and its incomparable features and spaces: entrance and porte-cochere, main lobby, side lounges, interior gardens and terrace, main dining room, theater, guest wings, and other areas. Also shown are a myriad of imaginative and integrated decorative details that helped give the Imperial Hotel its special character: urns, mullions, grilles, carpet patterns, stone ornaments, fireplaces, lights, windows, and many more.
In addition to a wealth of photographs, floor plans, and elevations, this book contains an illuminating Introduction by Cary James analyzing the principles of unity and organic structure that governed Wright's work, and the embodiment of those principles in the Imperial Hotel. Also included are relevant quotations from Wright's works, offering additional insight into the man, his mind and methods.
Dover Publications, Inc.
New York, NY
Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright
James, Cary, "Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel" (1968). Frank Lloyd Wright Book Collection. 142.