In Osaka City, Kita ward, along the Dojima and the Tosabori River, both running gently, there are a number of historical architecture which retains the remnants of the Meiji and the Taisho period.
Among those beautiful buildings, the most eye-catching one is Osaka City Central Public Hall(Osaka-shi Chuo Kokaido), elegant Neo-Renaissance architecture with red brick wall and dome-shaped bronze roof. The graceful appearance looking even more beautiful on blue water and green trees has always been loved by many people.
The public hall was made with a large grant from an Osaka citizen, Mr. Einosuke Iwamoto who was a broker in Kitahama, Osaka. His donation was 1 million yen equivalent to billions yen in current monetary value. Einosuke had an opportunity to visit the United States as a member of businessman group and there he was impressed by the fact that American businessmen pay their own money to contribute to make great public halls like Carnegie Hall. Then he decided to construct one in Osaka which should be as beautiful as any hall in the world.
The hall construction started in 1913 and was completed in 1918. Although it was rare at that time, they had a competition between nominated architects. Through its long history, the hall has been always deeply involved in cultural and art activity of Osaka people. Many international stars had various concerts like opera and also many famous people had lectures there. The role of the hall was changing with the times, however it always contributed to Osaka citizens' cultural activity.
The hall renovation was started in March 1999 since the original design had been ruined from repeated repairment and the building itself had been aging. After 4 years reconstruction, it completed in September 2002 and reopend in November that year. This extensive renovation aimed at the preservation of the building as a historical architecture and the restoration to its original design. By the reconstruction, the hall's endurance was improved. It got seismic isolation retrofit which is the technology giving high seismic capacity to an old building and had ramps and elevators answering the needs of the age and the next generation. Also, we can see its original structure and furnishings inside the hall, that tells us the people involved in this renovation really loved the architecture.
The beautifully renovated hall has got treasured for its magnificent appearance and refined interior design and it was highly-esteemed as a historical architecture, which is essential for the scenery of Nakanoshima.It has got designated as a cultural asset of national importance in December 2002. It became the first public hall of a national importance in western Japan.
Despite the hall has such cultural value, it has been always loved by people and used for citizens' cultural and art activity.
The building which has been supported by so many people will continue to attract people and be inherited as the symbol of Osaka.