[Demolished] The Kodera Residence, Kobe

This spanish-style villa in Kobe City was originally the home of Kansai University Professor, Keiichi Kodera. Designed by William Merrell Vories and completed in 1931, it was considered to be one of the top three finest examples of his work. The other two include the Oumigishi Residence in Osaka and the Toshiba Takanawa Club in Tokyo. The 3-storey home was constructed out of reinforced concrete, red spanish roof tiles and white plaster walls and was built by Takenaka Corporation.

Oumigishi Residence (left) and Toshiba Takanawa Club (right)

On April 8, 2011, the Board of Education announced that the house was being demolished. The sellers were descendants of the original owner and were residing in the home until April. They sold the property to a real estate developer who started demolition work only three days after the occupants moved out. The news about the demolition was very sudden and came as a shock many local residents and architecture fans. The short notice and quick demolition was most likely a tactic used by the developer to prevent any local action groups from organizing protests. The house was razed and the vacant lot will soon become another nondescript apartment building.

Vories designed many residences, churches and other buildings across Japan. Another one of his buildings that is going to be demolished is the United Church of Christ in Fukushima City. Built in 1909, the church suffered some damage during the March 11 earthquake and will be torn down.


Former residence of Keiichi Kodera
Address: 4-9 Sumiyoshi-yamate, Higashi Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
Built: 1931
Demolished: April, 2011
Architect: William Merrell Vories
Construction Company: Takenaka Corporation
Construction: 3 stories, reinforced concrete


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3 Responses to [Demolished] The Kodera Residence, Kobe

  1. tokyo dweller says:

    what a waste of history… what we really need is yet another apartment that looks like all others

  2. Fujinokidai says:

    That figures. Typical of the Japanese. Don’t preserve anything worthwhile, let’s make a few bucks off of over priced apartments, condos and keep things looking tacky.

    They did the same thing near Oimachi in Tokyo. Some developers destroyed a an old beautiful mansion (Descendants of the founder of Toshiba) built in the Taisho period for cold, sterile, over-priced condos. Funny thing, was is that they used pictures of the old mansion and it’s grounds in the promotional material. They didn’t sell well and I believe they still have a number of vacant rooms. Serves them right.

    Again modern Japanese show they really have no class and with all their pretenses to modern Western sophistication they are just cheap copies

    Amazes that they can’t learn this one thing from the British, how to preserve classic architecture, Japanese or Western. They can mimic all the French, British, Italian architecture, accents, language, cooking, but it’s all superficial and plastic.

    (My wife is Japanese, I love Japan, but can’t stand how they destroy their own heritage)

  3. Tokyoskyline says:

    Some things will never make sense in Japan.

    Why there is no respect for historical properties even though Japanese take pride in their own culture and traditions.

    Why so much money is regularly wasted on useless road projects when all they have to do is direct the same efforts into burying electrical lines.

    Why the few remaining trees in the city are being cut down when Japanese supposedly enjoy nature and its four distinct seasons…

    What drives them to such nonsense? Bureaucracy?

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