[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