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œChapter1œ
The first RC architecture to be designated an Important Cultural Property
@ A handsome house surrounded by green and standing on a small hill the Ashiya River in Hyogo Prefecture, "YODOKO Guest House" is one of the valuable works left in Japan by Wright, a master artist. This building was designed to be Yamamura's second house when Wright came to Japan to design the old Imperial Hotel in 1915.
Although he left Japan in 1922, his assistant, Arata Endo and Makoto Minami carried out experimental construction. The actual construction work was started in 1923, and the roof-raising ceremony was held in February 1924.
After completion, the building was used as the Yamamura's second house. In 1947, it was purchased by YODOGAWA STEEL WORKS,LTD.who was looking for an official residence for the company president. In later years, it was also used as an apartment building for single employees.
In May 1974, keeping the original appearance of the architecture designed by Wright, the building was designated the first RC architecture Important Cultural Property.
Novel among Wright's architectural works
@ When Wright came to Japan, he had already achieved high repute as a young, home-building architect in America. He had handled a number of "prairie house," which have an architectural style of harmony with nature, and his works in Japan are based upon this style, with such representative pieces as Jiyu Gakuen Myonichikan and the old Imperial Hotel. YODOKO Guest House, however, has a different style, which is that of a rare RC-built residence with the design purpose of providing relief from the heat. The building has the reputation of being a unique masterpiece among the works spanning Wright's career.
Over a half a century and the earthquake
@ Even the solid RC built Guest House could not avoid damage and wear over time, and, starting in 1985, three years of intensive restoration work was carried out. On January 17, 1995, however, Wright's valuable building suffered damage again from the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Although the unprecedented repair work for the RC-built Cultural Asset started in 1995 required a great amount of effort and cooperation from those involved, repair was completed after three years. The architectural work by the master artist again made its beautiful presence known to us.


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