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3 Dec 2013

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Part 1 , Japan

Yokohama [横浜市] • DECEMBER 2013
The Yokohama Red Brick (Akarenga Soko in Japanese) Warehouse  make up one of the most recognizable landmark in Yokohama. It has 2 sections : Warehouse No.1 and Warehouse No.2 - No.2 completed in 1911, after that followed by Warehouse No.1 built two years later in 1913 

The two warehouses (known as 'akarenga' in Japanese) survived the 1923 Kanto earthquake thanks to iron reinforcements, and emerged unscathed from WWII. Currently warehouse No.2 are use for shops, restaurants, bars where else warehouse No.1 for , concerts,exhibitons, fashion shows....

A very romantic piece of history to visit in Yokohama. Great for dating.

Its red brick house is full of shops and cafè where you can spend some time with your loved one or with children. There aren't fashion shops here, and you'll find a lot of furniture and furnishing for your house.

Let’s start with a bit of history. In its golden years, Shinko Pier was the center of the Port of Yokohama. Constructed at the turn of the century between 1899 and 1917, it was the nation's first modern port and harbor facility. Although damaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, the pier is the only pier that still preserves historical facilities such as the Red Brick Warehouses and the 50 ton crane. The pier is being redeveloped under the Minato Mirai 21 project and in 1993 the Passenger Terminal was constructed. 

And in 1997, Kishamichi, a promenade built over the water on the site of a former coastline railway track, was developed. Furthermore, the Red Brick Warehouses were opened to public in April 2002 upon the completion of the restoration work. In addition to the completion of the Maritime Emergency Base of the Maritime Safety Office in March 1995, in 1997 the Yokohama World Porters was opened as a foreign access zone facility(FAZ) and the Yokohama International Seamen's Center(NAVIOS) was completed to serve both domestic and foreign sailors.

Planned by Yorinaka Tsumaki, architect extraordinaire and government official famous for his designs mixing elements of classic Western European with Japanese architectures, both warehouses featured steel reinforced structures (as an indication, Building No.2 is made up of some 3,180,000 bricks and 560 tons of steel), fireproof walls, a sprinkler system and huge steel folding and sliding doors. Building No.1 even hosted the first ever elevator for cargo handling in Japan . And the beauty of it all is that most of this is left as it was or is otherwise on display!

Yorinaka Tsumaki (1859-1916) was an architect representing the Meiji and the early Taisho Eras whose works include the construction of the Tokyo municipal government building (1894), Nippon Kangyo Bank (1899), the head office of Yokohama Specie Bank (1904, important cultural property), Nihonbashi Bridge, etc. His collection donated to AIJ at his demise is comprised of architectural books and drawings. The collection contains more than 70 items of books including those on traditional patterns and drawings of folk dwellings, such as An Augmented Edition of Ootakumi Hinagata (Vols. 1-6), Tatekawa School Stereotomy in Yamato-e Style (Vols. 1-10) and Drawings of Folk Dwellings (Vols. 1-12). 

These books suggests that a Japanese architect who studied architecture in the United States were interested in Japanese architectural tradition. This collection also includes books on structures he worked on, such as Commemorative Record of the Nihonbashi Bridge, Documents on the Hiroshima Temporary Parliament Building (8 items), and documents related to the major repair of the hall housing the Great Buddha in Todai Temple in the Meiji Era. This collection covering wide variety of architecture is indispensable in studying him and his works.

The warehouses now differ in dimension, but both buildings used to be the same length. Although the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 mostly spared warehouse No.2, it reduced No.1 to half its size. A quick walk around the building reveals the difference in color between the East (original) and West (newer) walls. For the last 10 years or so, Shinko pier has been in constant evolution with projects such as building museums. 

Just last year opened the very interactive Cupnoodles Museum. However, in order to save the surroundings of the Red-Brick Warehouses, new development is under strict guidelines. A notable effect of this is the Navios Yokohama hotel, with its huge arch creating a hole in the building so as not to hide the view of the warehouses from the shore. - Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 


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