The former Miyakonojo Civic Hall, a metabolist icon in Miyazaki Prefecture, is expected to be demolished sometime this year as hefty maintenance costs prove too high for city finances.
The 1400-seat event hall was built in 1966. The architect, Kikutake Kiyonori (1928-2011), was a renowned architect and one of the founders of Japan’s metabolist architecture movement. This hall is considered one of the leading surviving examples of metabolist design.
Not only did it host numerous events, but it was also often used for wedding ceremonies as the city had very few hotels at the time it was built. It closed in March 2007 due to ageing and deterioration, with events held at a newer hall. A project team was formed to look into potential uses for the building, but with annual management and maintenance costs estimated at 70 million Yen, the final recommendation was to demolish it. The city polled 4,000 residents, of which 83% agreed with the demolition plan. In late 2007, Minami Kyushu University made a request to lease the hall to use as an auditorium. Their request was granted, with the university given a 20-year free lease. The university never ended up using the hall, and returned it to the city in March 2018.
In February 2019, the International Council on Monuments and Sites submitted a letter to the national, prefectural and city governments requesting the urgent preservation of the historically significant piece of architecture. Failing that, the Council was prepared to issue a ICOMOS Heritage Alert and launch a media campaign.
A farewell open day will be held by the city on June 23, with the application deadline on June 12.
Demolition is expected to cost 192 million Yen (approx. 1.75 million USD).
The Asahi Shimbun, May 29, 2019.
The Miyazaki Nichinichi Shimbun, March 20, 2019.