“Evolutionary” Architecture in the Ancient Capital

Hongan-ji Dendoin (Former Shinshu Shinto Life Insurance Company Head Office)

This building was constructed in 1911 as a facility of Nishi Hongan-ji, one of Japan’s most renowned temples. Columns supporting its dome are constructed like those in Buddhist temples and windows between the columns feature Islamic-style arches. In short, the building incorporates designs not only from Europe and Japan but from the entire Eurasian continent. It was designed by Chuta Ito, the first researcher of Japanese architectural history. From 1902 to 1905, Chuta traveled around the world, studying world architecture. He based his design for the office on a theory of architectural evolution grounded in his experiences from the trip.

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