While most American architects in the early 1900s looked to Europe and European architects for ideas, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) found Japanese design and art more inspiring. He collected and mounted exhibitions of Japanese art. Wright also found important clients in Japan who understood and appreciated his work. The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, designed in 1915, was one of Wright's grandest and most elegant projects. But by the early 1920s, Wright was working in obscurity, that is, few people knew of him or his work. He had spent much of his time designing buildings that no one had asked him to design. Many of these designs were never built. An act of nature in Japan helped revive Wright's career. Can you guess what it was?
When a devastating earthquake hit the region in 1923 and destroyed many buildings, Wright's Imperial Hotel suffered very little damage. Many people took notice, and Wright received a lot of favorable publicity. From that point on, Wright received many requests to design buildings. Wright designed more than 800 buildings in his lifetime, half of which were actually built. But he designed only 9 buildings outside the US, 3 were in Canada and 6 were in Japan. Among them, only 4 buildings (even including partial) survive now. All are in Japan. The 4 buildings that exist today: (1) Imperial Hotel Main building (moved from Tokyo to Nagoya, Meiji Village), (2) Jiyu Gakuen (Tokyo, School of Free Spirits), (3) Yamamura Tazaemon Mansion (Kobe), and (4) the Hayashi Aisaku House in Tokyo (not open to public).
Frank Lloyd Wright designed furniture in Japan
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