In 1955 the I-House building was constructed under the collaboration of three prominent Japanese architects – Maekawa Kunio, Sakakura Junzō, and Yoshimura Junzō and was awarded the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize the following year. In August 2006, it was registered as a tangible cultural property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.
With its main building projecting to the edge of the pond in the tsuridono (fishing pavilion) style seen in scroll paintings of the Heian Period (794–1185), the building was designed to achieve harmony with the garden. The building was extended with the addition of the West Wing with its red-brick tiles in 1975, and the library and rental conference facilities are surrounded by the greenery of the garden.
The projection of the building above the pond was modeled after a motif which can be seen in scroll paintings of the Heian Period (794-1185), while the I-House garden covering an area of over 6,600 square meters, designed in 1930 by the seventh-generation famed Kyoto landscape artist Ogawa Jihei (also known as Ueji), charms people with the ambience of the Momoyama period (late 16th century) or early Edo period (early 17th century). In 2005 this garden was designated as a place of scenic beauty by Minato Ward.
A large-scale renovation took place in 2005. It was completed in 2006 without damaging the appearance of the building or the harmony of building and garden. This renovation approach has been highly evaluated in terms of preserving postwar architectural masterpieces in Japan.
History of the
The site of the International House of Japan formerly held a mansion belonging to the Kyōgoku clan, feudal lords of the Tadotsu domain (currently Kagawa Prefecture) during the Edo period up to the very last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the late 19th century.
Early in the Meiji period, ownership shifted to Inoue Kaoru (Minister of Foreign Affairs), after which it was possessed by Prince Kuninomiya, followed by the Akaboshi and Iwasaki families. Finally, it was passed on to government ownership after World War II and was transferred to I-House.