Il est vraiment dommage que les Japonais ne respectent pas plus leur patrimoine architectural et urbain.
December 31, 2015
OSAKA--Despite an uproar over its impending demolition, the historic main building of the Daimaru Shinsaibashi department store, an art deco masterpiece, closed its doors for the last time here on Dec. 30 to end its 82-year history.
Representing the style of bold modernization that blossomed during the Taisho Era (1912-1926), the gothic-style building will be torn down to make way for an earthquake-resistant structure.
The eight-story building was designed by renowned U.S. architect William Merrell Vories (1880-1964), and has served as a major branch for the popular department store chain in the city’s busy Shinsaibashi district since 1933.
Although some parts of the structure were destroyed in an air raid during World War II, it was rebuilt based on the original design.
In July, Daimaru operator J. Front Retailing Co. decided to tear down the building to construct one that can withstand a major earthquake. The company will spend 38 billion yen ($316 million) to erect a new 11-story building with three basement levels. The new structure will be about 60 meters tall, 20 meters taller than the current building.
J. Front Retailing said it will try to preserve much of the original building’s interiors, including the ceilings, which are noted for their geometric patterns, and stained glass panes.
Daimaru will stay in business by moving its popular clothing brands and other operations from the main building to the north and south buildings of the branch while the new building is going up. It is set to open in autumn 2019.
“Our floor space will be condensed (until the new building opens),” a Daimaru official said. “But we hope to keep our loss of sales low by having an exclusive selection of goods.”
The Daimaru Shinsaibashi department store's main building in Osaka features ceilings with geometric patterns and stained glass panes. The building was designed by U.S. architect William Merrell Vories. (Kenta Sujino)
The art deco-style main building of the Daimaru Shinsaibashi department store in Osaka represents the style of modernization that flourished in the Taisho Era (1912-1926). (Kenta Sujino)