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December 9, 2016

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Japanese architect leaves impression on city’s history

YOSHIKAZU Uchida designed the Shanghai Institute of Science in the same style of the library at Tokyo Imperial University he designed just one year before.

The structure is in a Neogothic style Uchida adopted for most of the campus buildings he designed, according to the book “The Architecture of Tokyo.” The portico has arches that are semicircular rather than pointed. This library was built as a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr whose philanthropic record included the donation of the land on which the United Nations’ headquarters in New York stands.

An architect and a structural engineer, Uchida was one of five graduates from the Department of Architecture at Tokyo Imperial University in 1907. He returned to the university in 1910 for graduate studies under Toshikata Sano, the country’s leading structural engineer and a pioneer in the study of earthquake resistant architecture.

As Sano’s successor, Uchida did pioneering work in the study of steel frame and reinforced concrete construction. He also made important contributions in fields like fire prevention, urban planning, and the restoration of cultural monuments. This architect of wide-range interests influenced nearly every aspect of architectural engineering in Japan.

Uchida also had a lasting influence on the University of Tokyo. In 1923, after much of the campus was destroyed in the Kanto earthquake, he oversaw the reconstruction and devised a master plan that shaped the campus into how it exists today. In 1943, he was appointed president of the university. Today Uchida is best remembered for the buildings he designed on the campus of the University of Tokyo.


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