Concept

National Diet Building

Summary
The National Diet Building is the building where both houses of the National Diet of Japan meet. It is located at Nagatachō 1-chome 7–1, Chiyoda, Tokyo. Sessions of the House of Representatives take place in the south wing and sessions of the House of Councillors in the north wing. The Diet Building was completed in 1936 and is constructed entirely of Japanese materials, with the exception of the stained glass, door locks, and pneumatic tube system. The construction of the building for the old Diet of Japan began in 1920; however, plans for the building date back to the late 1880s. The Diet met in temporary structures for the first fifty years of its existence because there was no agreement over what form its building should take. German architects Wilhelm Böckmann and Hermann Ende were invited to Tokyo in 1886 and 1887, respectively. They created two plans for a Diet building. Böckmann's initial plan was a masonry structure with a dome and flanking wings, similar to other legislatures of the era, which would form the core of a large "government ring" south of the Imperial Palace. However, at the time there was public resistance in Japan to Foreign Minister Inoue Kaoru's internationalist policies, and so the architects submitted a more "Japanese" design as well, substituting traditional Japanese architectural features for many parts of the building. Ende and Böckmann's Diet Building was never built, but their other "government ring" designs were used for the Tokyo District Court and Ministry of Justice buildings. In 1898, Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi interviewed American Ralph Adams Cram, who proposed a more "Oriental" design for the building, featuring tiled roofs and a large enclosure of walls and gates. The Itō government fell as Cram was en route to the United States, and the project was dropped. With an internal deadline approaching, the government enlisted Ende and Böckmann associate Adolph Stegmueller and Japanese architect Yoshii Shigenori to design a temporary structure.
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