Iga City’s modernist government building may be saved from demolition

Junzo Sakakura Iga City 1

The 50-year old City Hall building in Iga City, Mie Prefecture, might just be saved from demolition after a building report suggested that repairing the structure may be cheaper than rebuilding it.

The city mayor has proposed restoring the south building and using it as a multi-purpose centre with library facilities. At a council meeting, however, concerns were raised about whether the building could be earthquake-retrofitted and how much it would cost to renovate it rather than destroy it.

Early estimates suggested that large-scale repairs and maintenance to the building could cost around 5.5 billion Yen (44.5 million USD).Junzo Sakakura Iga City 2

The concrete building was built in 1964 and designed by modernist architect Junzo Sakakura, who had worked in Le Corbusier’s atelier in Paris for seven years before starting his own architectural firm in Japan. Some of his notable works include:

  • 1951: The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura.
  • 1953: Residence of artist Taro Okamoto, Minami Aoyama.
  • 1955: International House of Japan, Roppongi (designed with Kunio Maekawa and Junzo Yoshimura).

Sakakura also designed the nearby Iga City North Government Building (built in 1963 and demolished in 2012), Chuo Public Hall (built in 1960 and demolished in 2012), Ueno Park Rest House, and the gymnasium for the Uenonishi Elementary School.

*Update: At a council vote on September 25, 2015, the majority voted in favour of demolishing the building. 

Location

116 Uenomarunouchi, Iga City, Mie Prefecture

Junzo Sakakura Iga City
(1) The City Hall South Building, still standing; (2) The North Building, demolished; (3) The Public Hall, demolished.
Junzo Sakakura Iga City 3
Sakakura’s works in Iga City: (Top Left) The Public Hall; (Top Right) Ueno Park Rest House; (Bottom Left) The North Building; (Bottom Right) Uenonishi Elementary School Gymnasium.

Sources:
The Mainichi Shimbun, August 19, 2015.
The Chunichi Shimbun, August 19, 2015.

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