Modernist House in Kobe demolished

The former Matsuhashi Ryuzo Residence is a 2-storey home in Ashiya City that was built in 1935 for a businessman from Tennoji in Osaka. It was one of the few remaining examples of modernist architecture in the Hanshin area. It was designed by architect, Kikuji Ishimoto, who also designed the Shirokiya Department Store in Nihonbashi.

Due to the personal circumstances of the current owner of this house in Ashiya, it is currently being demolished. A new 5-storey apartment building will replace the house. The 2,000 sqm property was owned by the son-in-law of the original owner and he has been forced to sell the house and land due to difficulties in paying the high inheritance taxes and maintenance costs.

About the house

The home was made of reinforced concrete, which was considered rare at the time since almost all houses were made of wood. There are 2 stories and 1 basement. A rooftop garden offered views of the sea and mountains. Inside, there was also a Japanese tea room and a fireplace. The fireplace and a decorative glass window from the house will be preserved and used in the new apartment building.

The house was registered as a modernist cultural heritage property in Hyogo Prefecture.

Luckily the original furniture from the house has been saved and is currently being kept by the Mr. Fukushima, director of the Ashiya Western-style Architecture Society. Mr. Fukushima says that he wants to give the furniture away to interested parties.

The furniture was also designed by the architect. There are a total of 13 pieces of furniture including tables and chairs from the drawing room, as well as a desk and swivel chair from the library. If the furniture is polished and re-covered, it would be perfectly usable. Mr. Fukushima said that the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake destroyed 80 percent of the modernist architecture in the Kobe area.

The furniture is on display in the garage of Mr. Fukushima’s office (9-6 Seidocho, Ashiya) and is open to public viewing each Sunday from 10am to 5pm. It will be displayed for one year before being given away for free.

Mr. Fukushima with the furniture from the home

The Mainichi Shimbun, December 31, 2011.
Interior images:

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