Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jiyu Gakuen Girls School, Tokyo, by Frank Lloyd Wright

 

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One of only two remaining Wright buildings in Tokyo (Japan housing the only buildings he designed outside North America), the Jiyu Gakuen Girls School (literally “the school-garden of liberty”) was completed in 1921 while Wright was in Japan completing the Imperial Hotel. The skyline clearly looked a little different then!

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Built inexpensively, Wright designed the layout and the main building, which included an Assembly Hall on the first floor and a Dining Hall on the second floor.

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Two classrooms were on either side of the main building. His assistant Arato Endo designed these, and the classrooms completing the courtyard. [UPDATE: “Wright and Arata collaborated so closely on the design for the School of the Free Spirit that the final plans were signed by both of them — the first time Wright had ever shared credit.”]

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This little school building [said Wright] 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 simple happy place for happy children - unpretentious - genuine. It is built in no certified style. It has style all its own. Whether one likes or dislikes it, the style is harmoniously founded on right principles... The architects have felt this in working out this design with [the owners] Mr. And Mrs. Hani, and are happy to see the building carrying its children as a tree carries its blossoms. The children seem to belong to the building in quite the same way as the flowers belong to the tree, and the building belongs to them as the tree belongs to its flowers... Frank Lloyd Wright, Arata Endo.

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Former Wright associate Edgar Tafel talks through a few slides on the school in 1992…

 

 

Since then, according to Wikipedia, “restoration work was conducted from January 1999 through September 2001. Since November 2001, it is open to the public “when not in use for weddings and other events.”

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[Pics by Wikipedia, Wright in Japan, The Wright Library, World Architecture Map]

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