Enjoy a Virtual Tour of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lost ‘Imperial Hotel’

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright left this earth in 1959 with a legacy that included over 1,000 designs. Some of his creations remain the most iconic buildings in cities across the world. However, some of the architect's ambitious projects were either never realized or demolished. These include the magnificent Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, which stood from 1923 to 1967. While it no longer stands, a project by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust entitled Frank Lloyd Wright: The Lost Works allows viewers a bird's eye tour through the hotel.

Wright's design was one in a succession of impressive hotels which have occupied the site. The previous Imperial Hotel was built in 1890 and devastated by fire in 1922. Wright's design replaced it, defying at least two earthquakes to open in 1923. A multi-level design merging the aesthetic traditions of the East and West, the hotel was a monument to innovative design. Unfortunately, it was not very comfortable. A 1925 article described it as “a hundred years ahead of the age in its architectural features and fifty years behind in many things which make for the comfort of its patrons.”

With small rooms, no air conditioning, and a sinking foundation, the hotel was eventually demolished in 1967. It was replaced by another imperial hotel, this time a high rise. Now, that building is currently in the process of being replaced by a new design set to debut in 2036.

While a Frank Lloyd Wright building may seem like something to preserve forever, some strains of Japanese architectural tradition are known for cycling buildings with generations in a beautiful story of life. But now architectural buffs can explore these lost hallways through “drone” footage created from Wright’s original plans, drawings, and old photos. Stroll the halls and imagine yourself as a guest in this legendary hotel.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, was demolished in 1967, but you can tour it through this virtual video.

Enjoy a Virtual Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lost Imperial Hotel

Photo: screenshot from
Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Explore this bird's eye view of the once magnificent hotel.

h/t: [Open Culture]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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