Aiming at 2020, where Tokyo Olympics will be held, there are many construction projects going on around Tokyo and even some landmarks of Japanese modernist architectures are torn down. I am not against the efforts to make Tokyo more desirable city, but there are things that we shouldn’t demolish without enough thoughts on protection of the valuable assets.
Hotel Okura Tokyo is one of such and I wrote about it in my blog end of last year.
Hotel Okura Tokyo was built more than 50 years ago and one of the iconic Japanese architecture that embody Japan’s traditional esthetics. Now the demolition of Hotel Okra Tokyo is planned in this summer to build new hotel building by 2019.
What interesting is that more oversea media picked up this plan with disappointment such as The NY Times and Washington Post. Well known foreign artists and designers oppose to this idea and Monocle magazine has been actively promoting a signature-collecting campaign “Save the Okura”. You can participate in this campaign from here.
‘Casa Brutus’ – Japanese magazine specialized in lifestyle, design and architecture created a tribute page to Hotel Okura in its website, where many well-known designers and architects such as Paul Smith and Steven Holl talk about their relationship, memories or appreciation about Hotel Okura. Case Brutus site is here.
“Demolition of the Okura is a tragedy.”
– Steven Holl
“A masterpiece of modernism. We should protect it as a cultural asset for the future”
– Margarete Howel
“Still Avant-garde design today.”
– Masaya Kuroki, Creative director of Maison Kitsune
Tomas Maier, Creative director of Bottega Veneta is also against the demolition plan of Hotel Okura Tokyo. He is calling net users for uploading photos that one took in Hotel Okura Tokyo in Instagram with # (hashtag), in order to widely gain more attentions to the issue of breaking down valuable architectures. Tomas Maier also appears in youtube to send his message ‘Save Japan’s Modern Architecture – Tomas Maier in Japan’.
We may have little power to change the demolition plan of Hotel Okura Tokyo, but I believe that our voice could make many people aware of the value of asset and still influence the design of new Hotel Okura Tokyo.