Another of the fourteen buildings Wright designed in his ten-year sojourn in Japan building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, ‘Jiyu Gakuen,’ the school he designed in 1921-22, means ‘free spirit,’ the very spirit with which Wright was seeking to endow the building and the children who used it.
Centred on the dining hall and assembly room shown here, the classrooms wrap around and enclose a grass courtyard.
“Wright fashioned every detail with young children in mind, explains “Wright archivist Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.
“The scale of the rooms themselves, as with the furniture, likewise considers a child’s point of view. Wright and Arata Endo, his associate in Japan, wrote, ‘This little school building was designed for the Jiyu Gakuen—in the same spirit implied by the name of the school—a free spirit. It was intended to be a simple happy place for happy children—unpretentious—genuine.’
Check out the school’s English language website for more info, and this (somewhat dark) slide presentation on the school by Wright apprentice Edgar Tafel. And I’ll keep looking out for a scan of the Wright’s delightful sketch of the school which first made me fall in love with it.