Serialization | Journey to old drawing

Mitsubishi Jisho Design was founded in in 1890 as the Marunouchi Architectural Office within the Mitsubishi Company. It is Japan’s oldest architectural design firm. The firm’s archives contain an unbroken series of architectural drawings dating back to 1894, when the Mitsubishi Ichigokan (Building No. 1) was completed. A research group within the firm is currently analyzing these drawings, searching through the extensive archives for clues to the technology and architectural philosophy of the eras since then.
What were these architects of these eras thinking as they designed their buildings, and what messages did they want to leave through their drawings? What is their legacy? Each drawing reveals surprising answers to these and other questions.


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Author Profiles

  • Kazunori Nomura

    When looking at architecture and cities for enjoyment and appreciation, I try to forget specialist concerns and simply enjoy them as a lay person. It is like having a delicious meal and simply thinking that it is delicious.

  • Tomoyoshi Ejima

    One of the pleasures of working with historic buildings is solving riddles, like reading a mystery novel. Why this design? How did this work? The answers come through a conversation with the original designer. Having this conversation and coming closer to the original is a way to discover new values.

  • Satoru Sumitani

    I first encountered these old drawings a few years ago. When looking at them, I try to imagine what the original designers were thinking, sharing the struggles and achievements of the pioneers in our field. The most enjoyable moment is finally understanding another one of the mysteries hidden in the drawings.

  • Yasufumi Onishi

    Old drawings are the record of how architects tried to design better buildings. Against the background of a globalizing economy and the emergence of manufacturing and industry, we can see the process of trial and error as architects looked for better solutions to every detail. As an engineer, I am moved by the passion for making things that is evident in these drawings.