Peacock Alley, Imperial Hotel, c. 1950.

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Peacock Alley, Imperial Hotel, c. 1950.

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Imperial Hotel (Wright), 1923-1968

“On Monday, October 1st [1928], the Conference begins in the auditorium of the Imperial Hotel with about 700 present. Perhaps one more person might be packed in – but that seems doubtful … While stenographers tap out last-minute additions to speeches, delegates find their places, piloted through the greenery and banners of Peacock Alley into the auditorium by white-jacketed attendants.”

The Rotarian, December 1928

See and be seen, in the Imperial Hotel’s ‘Peacock Alley’. The storied Tokyo hotel was one of six buildings in Japan designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Imperial Hotel famously survived the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, shortly after opening for business in July; its experimental foundation principles were steadily improved upon, resulting in the forests of earthquake-resistant skyscrapers seen throughout Tokyo, today.

The 1923-1968 iteration of the Imperial Hotel (there have been three) was well-worn and threadbare by the time of its demise. It was said its suite hallways had taken on wavy, twisted appearances as the structure became settled and shifted against the reclaimed ground upon which it was built. Maybe more important, the hotel lacked certain amenities, too, including air-conditioning, which appealed to post-war travelers.

Despite loosely-organized opposition to its demolition, all but the front facade of the Imperial Hotel was reduced to rubble in 1968. The facade now rests assembled on the grounds of Meiji Mura, an outdoor museum of Japanese architecture, near Nagoya

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  1. Pingback: Imperial Hotel (1923-1968) | Old Tokyo

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