Shrine to demolish 53-yr old building by iconic architect

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 2

A 53-year old former Shrine Office building in Shimane Prefecture is at risk of demolition. The owner, Izumo-taisha (aka the Izumo Grand Shrine), is considering tearing down the building due to its deteriorating state.

Architects and local groups are petitioning the shrine to consider the cultural importance of the building and preserve it for future generations. The shrine office was designed by architect Kiyonori Kikutake (1928-2011) and completed in 1963.  Kikutake, along with Kisho Kurokawa, was one of the founders of the metabolist movement and designed numerous buildings across Japan.

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 4

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 5

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 1

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 7

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 3

Izumo Taisha Shrine Office 6

The building has been awarded with both Japanese and US architectural awards and was selected by DOCOMOMO Japan as one of the top 100 modernist buildings in the country.

According to the shrine, the building has suffered from roof leaks and other deterioration in recent years and has been closed since July 2015. Due to the unusual design, conducting an earthquake resistant inspection has been a difficult task.

Some of Kikutake’s other works include:

  • The 127m tall Expo Tower for the 1970 Japan World Exposition.
  • His personal residence called ‘Sky House’ in Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo in 1958.
  • Miyako City Meeting Hall, 1966.
  • The Aquapolis floating city in Okinawa, 1975. 12.3 billion Yen was spent on the project. In 2000 it was sold to a US-based company 14 million Yen and towed to Shanghai where it was scrapped.
  • Hotel Seiko Ginza, Tokyo, 1985. Game development company Konagi Corporation acquired the hotel in 2013 for 17.8 billion Yen.
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum, 1992.
  • Sofitel Tokyo (former Hotel COSIMA), 1994. Demolished in 2008.
  • National Showa Memorial Museum, Tokyo, 1998.

Kiyonori Kikutake

Sources:
The Mainichi Shimbun, March 4, 2016.
The Sankei Shimbun, March 8, 2016.

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