The 90-year old former Kano Town Hall in Gifu City will be demolished this year as repairs have become too costly and the building is at risk of collapse.
The 2-storey, reinforced concrete building was built in 1926 as the town hall for Kano Town (now part of Gifu City). The modernist building was designed by architect Goichi Takeda (1872-1938). It managed to survive the Gifu Air Raid of July 9, 1945, which destroyed 5 square kilometres of the city and killed 800 residents. For a brief time after the war it was used by the occupying forces. From 1985 onwards it was used as the office for the City School Lunch Association.
The building was registered as a national tangible cultural property in 2005.
In 2007, the building was closed due to concerns about earthquake resistance. Local residents have been petitioning the city to preserve the building, but repairing the building would cost the city several hundred million Yen (several million USD), which was not possible for the city’s finances. As a result, the city has decided to demolish the historic building.
About the architect:
Takeda was considered to be the founding father of European architecture in the Kansai region, having introduced Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession styles to Japan. He contributed to a large number of projects in Japan in the early 1900s, including the National Diet Building in Tokyo.
Some of Takeda’s works include:
- Kyoto Prefectural Library (1909), still standing.
- Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts James Hall, Kyoto (1913), still standing.
- Kyudo Kaikan, Tokyo (1915), still standing.
- Waraku-an Villa, Kyoto (1916), disassembled.
- Goryu Palace, Kyoto (1921), still standing.
- Kyoto City Hall (1927~1931) (co-designed with Shinichi Nakano), still standing.
- Kansai Electric Power Co. Kyoto Branch Office (1937), still standing.
Source: The Chunichi Shimbun, December 31, 2015.