House of Miracles
The Former Watanabe Jinkichi House and Interior Design
Osaka：June 12 (Fri) ～ August 25 (Tue), 2020
This exhibition has been cancelled in view of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Because a presentation at the venue will not be possible, we are displaying the exhibition on this website by means of photographs and slideshows.
By miraculous fortune, the Former Watanabe Jinkichi Residence (1934, Shirokane, Tokyo) has survived, even as other valuable works of modern residential architecture go under the wrecking ball. Due to overwhelming support and cooperation, the residence--dismantled for preservation in 2019--has been restored in a new location by a private company. What kind of house is the Former Watanabe Jinkichi Residence that it should move people's hearts and compel them to action?
It was Setsuro Yamamoto, an architect with the house builder "Amerika-ya" and the foremost Japanese residential architect of the time, who undertook the design for this elegant, medium-scale residence. He was joined in this project by the owner's hometown friend, architect Kenzo Endo, and the enigmatic architect Wajiro Kon whose designs largely went unbuilt. These three played a central role in the formation of a Japanese-style Tudor architecture.
The house's sumptuously decorative interior design, unimaginable from its simple exterior, displays the handiwork of craftsmen attuned to the spirit of British Arts and Crafts design. While basically Tudor in style, the interior is a collage of rooms designed in different styles and tastes depending on their function, including a mountain lodge-style dining room, rococo bedroom, and Japanese-style room. That an impression of overall harmony is achieved, however, doubtless owes to the skill of the three architects, who valued the owner's intentions. Most miraculous of all is that the Jinkichi Residence has kept its original appearance, nearly unchanged, despite changing ownership several times.
Included here are elegant old photographs of the Former Watanabe Jinkichi Residence on its completion in 1934 and photos taken prior to its 2019 dismantling. We invite you to tour this "house of miracles" and lose yourself in its charms.