Just as designers and magazines are declaring the end of mid-century modern, one of the prized examples of its architecture might be torn down. The Hotel Okura in Tokyo was built in 1962 and looks like a place Don Draper would bring his air stewardess lover.
Designed by a motley crew of artists including the architects Yoshiro Taniguchi and Hideo Kosaka, the folk artist Shiko Munakata and the potter Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has a supremely elegant dining room (the Orchid Room), a Japanese garden, and loads and loads of beautiful design details (see photos).
What’s replacing it? Predictably, a glass and steel tower. How exciting.
Still, Japanese people don’t seem quite as bothered by this change as western people do. Japan has no landmark preservation commission and the Japanese often tear down old buildings for newer and shinier ones. Not to mention, all the buildings that have been destroyed over the years due to earthquakes. After all, there are buildings in Tokyo way older than 1962.
Maybe we should all just calm down and let the Japanese decide which structures they do and do not want to preserve, and keep ourselves out of it.
Or you can put your name down on a petition to save it. It’s here.