82-year-old Osaka landmark awaits wrecking ball

posted on January 2, 2016

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.

source by asahi
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