Serialization | Journey to old drawing

6. Group of Drawings Categorized as “Reference Drawings” (Selection)

Kazunori Nomura

In its project to review archived drawings, the old drawing study group has finally reached the Taisho period (1912–1926). About a year was spent on reviewing the voluminous drawings for Mitsubishi Building No. 21, and about 3/4 of the drawings for the temporary Mitsubishi Headquarters (Building No. 22) are done. In the course of this work, we noticed an unusual bag labeled “Reference Drawings”. Opening it up, the contents were astonishing – traced elevation drawings from Building No. 1 (1894) through Building No. 20 (1911) and Naka Building No. 10-9 (1919). Why were these drawings made? The dates match the period before Katsuya Yasuoka left the office. Did he make them? Or, since there were also drawings for the fourth-story addition (in December 1923) to Naka Building No. 8 (formerly Mitsubishi Building No. 12), perhaps they were collected after the Great Kanto earthquake of September 1923. We tried placing these elevation drawings in their actual locations. We had heard previously about the principle of “left-right symmetry centered on Naka-dori”, and from that viewpoint these drawings are fascinating. This trend began with the last buildings by Tatsuzo Sone, No. 6 and No. 7 (Katsuya Yasuoka was on the staff in the office at that time). Building No. 9 is actually two buildings (A and B) to match the opposite Building No. 8, which was a single building. Even more remarkable are Buildings Nos. 14 and 15, which are on a single drawing even though they are separate buildings. The left-right symmetry on Naka-dori is exemplified by the 250 m streetscape completed by Katsuya Yasuoka, who was involved with the endeavor as chief engineer under Sone. Is there an architect who could achieve something like this in any other organization? Then, with Building No. 21, it is time for Kotaro Sakurai to appear on the scene.

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