The original Imperial Hotel was a three-storey Victorian-style wooden building, built on the avenue leading from the Imperial Palace. It was put into operation in 1890 and at that time it was the only hotel of European character in the whole country. By 1915, the hotel was no longer able to meet the needs of a growing number of visitors and it was decided to replace the obsolete building with a modern hotel.
In search of a Western architect able to bridge the cultural differences between West and East, the hotel's owners decided to commission and build a new Imperial Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel. The hotel with a capacity of 250 rooms was designed roughly in the shape of its own logo, as its wings with guest rooms formed the letter "H", while public spaces were concentrated in a smaller but taller central wing in the shape of the letter "I", which intersected middle rung of the letter "H".
The visual impression of the proposed solution was both unique and dramatic. The new Imperial Hotel was opened on September 1, 1923. On the same day, Tokyo and the surrounding area were hit by a devastating earthquake. Wright was in Los Angeles at the time, and 10 endless days of conflicting news passed, confirming that the hotel was still standing. Thanks to Wright's unique design, he survived the earthquake as one of the few buildings.
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- Imperial Hotel
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