The former Gifu Prefectural Office Building stands near Gifu City Office.
It is no longer in use and is surrounded by a fence to prevent people from entering.
This is the second generation prefectural government building built in 1924.
Gifu Prefectural Government moved to a new building in 1966. This building was later used as a general government building for the prefectural government, but was closed in March 2013.
For safety reasons, the building is now off-limits and is surrounded by a fence. There seems to be no prospect of how it will be utilized in the future.
The fence continues all the way around the building.
There was an explanatory sign attached to the fence on the west side.
“This building was constructed in October 1924 as the second generation Gifu prefectural government building. It is a superb building with an Art Deco style design with continuous geometric patterns, and is one of the earliest reinforced concrete prefectural government building existing in Japan.
The plan is E-shaped, with the main entrance of the government building in the center of the south side and the main entrance of the prefectural assembly building on the north side. The documents from the time of construction indicate that the building boasted of its grandeur as a spacious, massive, modern Western-style building with excellent earthquake and fire resistance.
The main entrance and the central hall are the most beautiful spaces of the building, with many marble pieces from Akasaka, Ogaki City, and stained glass windows with a design of the Hida Alps. The building also contains various executive offices, such as the prestigious 'Hall for ceremonies’ and the 'Governor’s room’ each of which is elaborately designed, and can still be seen today as they were when the building was constructed. （Omission of the latter part)."
Judging from the way the panel was made, it was probably installed as a temporary installation, not as a long-term explanatory board.
Even if it says, “can still be seen today" it is impossible to enter the building because it is closed. As a countermeasure, a QR code has been attached to the panel so that visitors can view images of the interior posted on the prefectural website, but the code will probably be lost in a few years.
The rear side of the building looks like this.
The government building, described as “E-shaped," has been dismantled partly, leaving only the front part.
The cross section of the building was sealed with a concrete wall. The lack of windows created a strange atmosphere.
I did not notice it when I was taking the photo, but there appeared to be fluorescent lights inside the first floor. Is someone working inside the building even if it is not open to the public? I should have looked more carefully.
The next photo is an aerial view of the General Office Building when it was still in use. (from Geographical Survey Institute).
The entire building is almost square, but the southern portion circled by the red line was completed in 1924, and the northern portion circled by the yellow line was added in 1958.
As an image of the building at the time of its completion, I cite a plan of landscaping of the Gifu Prefectural Office Building that was published in the magazine “Garden" Vol. 6, No. 7 in 1924. Although the planting may be different from the actual one because it is a plan, but the shape of the building appears to be the actual shape.
The yellow arrows indicate that the prefectural assembly hall which was attached to the building. There was an entrance on the assembly hall side, and it was directly accessible from the north side of the building.
A photograph taken from the north side is shown below (from “History of the Gifu Prefectural Assembly, Vol. 2" 1981).
The second and third floors were the prefectural assembly hall (The third-floor part consisted in the seats for the public in a colonnade), and the entrance was on the first floor.
I found photos of the front side of the building in several books. A photo from 1925, close to the time of completion, is included.
The construction of this government building began in June 1923 and was completed on October 15, 1924. Kenkichi Yabashi and Toshikata Sano were the architectural advisors, and Masaki Shimizu was in charge of design and supervision.
It is said that a tower was originally planned for the building, but the plan was revised due to the Great Kanto Earthquake that occurred three months after construction began, and although there is a drawing showing a tower, no concrete documents have been found to show that the design was changed.
I hear that Masaki Shimizu, who was in charge of the design, was a high official dispatched to Gifu Prefecture for the construction of the prefectural government office, and was involved in the design as an engineer of Gifu Prefecture from 1922. He lived in Gifu until the year after the completion of the building.
I mentioned earlier that the north addition was built in 1958, but looking at old aerial photograph, I found that a wooden building had already been constructed on the site in 1947. I checked other images and found that this building was connected to the main building.
I do not know when this building was built, but it must have been an addition to the prefectural office, which had become too small. There was a wooden building before enlarging a building with steel reinforced concrete in 1958.
Turning to the front side again.
Looking up from the main entrance.
I couldn’t get a good shot of the door.
A little further away.
According to a newspaper article, a private organization sponsored an event to consider the use of the building in September this year. I do not intend to advocate the use of the building too loudly because of the cost of seismic reinforcement, but I hope that a way will be opened for its utilization.
[Reference] (written in Japanese)
“Report on the Survey of Architectural and Cultural Properties of the Former Gifu Prefectural Office Building" (Gifu Prefecture, survey project commissioned in 2012)