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LastUpDate: March 12, 2015
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Hakata Culture vol.97


Learn about Literature in a Meiji Era Western Building

Learn about Literature in a Meiji Era Western Building image

Located at the far end of Tenjin on Showa-dori Ave, the Akarenga Cultural Center is a western style red brick building with granite embellishments and a copper roof. Built in 1909 to house the Kyushu branch of the Nippon Life Insurance Company, this historic structure has since been designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property. The building, which previously served as a history museum, was reborn as the Akarenga Cultural Center in 1994 after the Fukuoka City Museum opened.


If the Akarenga Cultural Center reminds you of Tokyo Station, that is because both buildings were designed by the famous Meiji Era architect Kingo Tatsuno. Both buildings employ the same contrasting red brick and granite exteriors topped with copper-shingled domes and spires, a style of construction that was popular in Great Britain in the late 19th century.


Tatsuno was born in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, and graduated tops in his class from the Imperial College of Engineering (which later became the University of Tokyo Faculty of Engineering). After studying in Great Britain, he returned to Japan where he became one of the country's most prominent architects. The Akarenga Cultural Center was designed by a firm that Tatsuno had established with fellow architect Yasushi Kataoka, and it was completed a full five years before Tokyo Station. 


While the exterior is indeed impressive, the exquisite interior, with its Art Nouveau-inspired light fixtures and ornamentation, can't be missed.


Nowadays citizens can used the Akarenga Cultural Center for meetings and other gatherings, and the first floor is home to the Fukuoka City Literature Hall. The hall features works and manuscripts penned by local authors and plays host to a wide array of literature-themed events. One such event, the Akarenga Night Talks, are guest lectures on literature held once every two months. 


If you’d like to learn about literature in a unique Meiji Era western building, why not sign up for the next event?



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明治時代の洋館で文学を学ぶ

 天神の一角、昭和通り沿いにある福岡市赤煉瓦文化館は、その名の通り、レンガの赤と白い帯、銅板葺の屋根が印象的な洋館。明治42(1909)年に日本生命保険株式会社九州支店として建てられた歴史ある建物で、国の重要文化財にも指定されています。以前は歴史資料館として使われていましたが、資料館の機能が福岡市博物館に移転したため、平成6(1994)年から赤煉瓦文化館として市民に親しまれています。

 この赤煉瓦文化館、ある有名な建物に似ていると思いませんか? 最近、大規模に修復されて話題になった東京駅です。赤いレンガと白い花崗岩で造られた外壁は、19世紀末にイギリスで流行した様式に影響を受けたもの。ドームや尖塔を備えた銅板葺きの屋根と美しいコントラストを見せています。赤煉瓦文化館も東京駅も、明治時代に活躍した建築家・辰野金吾の設計によるものなのです。

 辰野金吾は佐賀県唐津市の出身で、工部大学校(後の東京大学工学部)を首席で卒業。イギリス留学の後に日本を代表する建築家として活躍します。赤煉瓦文化館は、辰野と建築家の片岡安が共同設立した建築事務所が手がけ、東京駅に先立つこと5年前に竣工しています。外観だけでなく、アール・ヌーボーの影響を受けた内部の照明や装飾なども美しく必見です。

 現在、赤煉瓦文化館は会議室などとして一般市民が利用できるほか、1階には福岡市文学館が開設されています。福岡ゆかりの作家の作品、原稿などの展示に加え、さまざまな文学関連のイベントも開催されています。2ヶ月に1度、「赤煉瓦夜話」と名づけられたイベントは、さまざまな講師が文学について語るもの。明治の洋館で文学について学ぶのも素敵だと思いませんか。