Joanne and Alan Kohn lecture

Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 11:00 am

Saint Louis Art Museum

Unpacking the Imperial Hotel at 100: Frank Lloyd Wright and the World

Dr. Ken Tadashi Oshima

The 1923 opening of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, was the culmination of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most ambitious and elaborate commissions. It was Wright’s first international project, inaugurating him as one of the first twentieth century architects of global significance. Wright first visited Japan in 1905 and ultimately made seven trips there, spending a total of nearly three years in the country. The Imperial Hotel commission was an opportunity for Wright to experiment with themes and ideas that had been in gestation for years and that would later resurface in his work: Japanese prints, the relationship between architecture and landscape, and a deep interest in global cultures. In reconsidering the centennial of the Imperial Hotel, this talk examines the nature of people and places that intersect with Wright’s experience in Japan and would resurface in projects around the world including those in St. Louis.

The lecture is free but tickets are required. Tickets may be reserved in person at the Saint Louis Art Museum Info Centers or through MetroTix at or 314.534.1111. All tickets reserved through MetroTix incur a service charge.

Dr. Ken Tadashi Oshima is Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he teaches in the areas of trans-national architectural history, theory and design. Dr. Oshima’s publications include Kiyonori Kikutake: Between Land and Sea (2015), Architecturalized Asia (2013), International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (2009) and Arata Isozaki (2009). He is guest curator of the exhibition “The Wright Imperial Hotel at 100: Frank Lloyd Wright and the World” (Toyota Museum of Art, 2023) and was a co-curator of “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” (MoMA, 2017), “Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noemi Raymond” (2006-7). He is a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians and served as President from 2016-18. His articles on the international context of architecture and urbanism in Japan have been published in journals including a+u, Architectural Review, Architectural Theory Review, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Kenchiku Bunka, Japan Architect, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, and the AA Files.