William Merrell Vories was a brilliant and prolific architect who was active throughout the Kansai region in the early 20th century. He is said to have built up to 1600 buildings over a 35 year career, all while leading an active life as an educator, entrepreneur and Christian missionary. Many of the buildings he designed are still standing today, including quite a few in Kyoto. This month, the city of ÅŒmi Hachiman in Shiga, where Vories made his home, is commemorating the 50th anniversary of his passing with a series of special events. Last Saturday, Mewby and I visited ÅŒmi Hachiman to take a tour of some of the beautiful buildings that Vories built there. Until November 3rd, you can get a special “passport” for 1,500 yen that will give you access to all of the buildings on the tour, many of which are also exhibiting material related to his life. Passports and maps are both available at the tourist information center at ÅŒmi Hachiman station. You can also download the map as a PDF here: å¸‚å†…ãƒžãƒƒãƒ—ï¼†å±•ç¤ºæ¡ˆå†…. Even if you can’t go before November 3rd, you can still visit or view many of the buildings on the tour after the special exhibition is over, but I would give yourself a good day to walk around all the sites. I really enjoyed visiting this town and would very much like to learn more about thisÂ extraordinary man.
Here are some pictures from our day.
Ikeda Machi JÅ«takugai (æ± ç”°ç”ºä½å®…è¡—), the Western residential area of Ikeda town, is a cluster of homes designed by Vories very early in his career. He had a house here himself, but that has long gone and can be seen only in old photographs. Three fine buildings do still remain though. [Read more…]