imperial hotel: 130 years of history in tokyo


The Imperial Hotel Tokyo, a storied establishment that first graced the Tokyo skyline in 1890, has long been an emblem of Japanese modernization. Founded with the vision of meeting community and touristic needs, it has served as a guest house for international visitors and a cultural hub for over a century. Its Second Main Building was completed in 1923 with a design by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, before it was demolished in 1967 and replaced with a high rise. Thus, the seventeen-story Third Main Building has stood proudly since its opening in 1970. The Imperial Hotel has a rich history that beckons to be celebrated and preserved for future generations. Now, the historic project will see a major expansion led by Paris-based firm Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects.

frank lloyd imperial tokyo
©Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects / rendering by RSI. this image represents the current design proposal and is subject to further change.



ATTA’s Archaeological Approach to Design


In their bold rebuild proposal, Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects (ATTA) undertook an archaeological approach to unearth the layers of history, typologies, civilizations, styles, ornaments, spaces, and materials that have shaped Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel Tokyo. This deep exploration of the past served as the foundation for the architects‘ vision of the hotel‘s future, where they artfully combine the concepts of a ‘palace’ for horizontal guest reception and a ‘tower’ as a vertical symbol of human evolution. Through this innovative dialogue, they seek to reimagine the Imperial Hotel as a fresh and distinctive guest house, resonating with the spirit of the past while embracing the future.

frank lloyd imperial tokyo
© Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects / rendering : RSI Perspective of Uchisaiwaicho 1-chome District Development. New Main Building of the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo in the center



embracing the Legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright


One of the most iconic aspects of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo’s history is the Second Main Building, a work designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It had been demolished in 1967, with its central lobby wing and reflecting pool disassembled and rebuilt at The Museum Meiji-mura in Inuyama where they are open to the public. ATTA’s rebuild proposal pays homage to this history by reviving the memory of the Second Imperial Hotel. The team notes that this building was once known as the ‘Jewel of the Orient — blending of east and west as well as the leader of the east nor the west.’ This structure embodied the fusion of Eastern and Western architecture, serving as a beacon of leadership for both worlds. In their design philosophy, ATTA champions permanence over novelty, depth over surface, presence over lightness, and diversity over simplicity. This dedication to the enduring values of the past ensures that the Imperial Hotel Tokyo will continue to shine as a symbol of cultural and architectural significance.

frank lloyd wright's imperial hotel tokyo to be rebuilt and expanded
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Second Main Building was completed in 1923 and demolished in 1967



project info:


project title: Imperial Hotel Tokyo Rebuilding

architecture (renovation): Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects | @ateliertsuyoshi_tanearchitects

architecture (original): Frank Lloyd Wright | @wrighttaliesin

location: Toyko, Japan

concept: Tsuyoshi Tane
project manager: Naganobu Matsumura, Ryosuke Yago, Valentino Pagani
project architect: Isabelle Atkinson-evans, Shota Yamamoto
project team: Isabelle Atokinson -evans, Frosp Pipi, Johannes Wilde, Mathilde Depnois, Shohei Yamashita, Dustin Ly, Caroline Høgild, Dan Ropert, Dimitris Moutafidis, Matteo Lunanova, Cindy Djahnine, Emily Jones, Alice Gagliano, Niccolo Passarelli, Ambre Elkeslassy, Mana Sakamoto

completion: expected 2036
visualizations: © RSI Studio |