Vories' Architectural Works 

Vories started his architectural work as an amateur in 1908 when he set up an architect's office. Two years later, he invited an American architect, Lester Chapin to join him and established Vories Partnership. He further developed his office to include 30 architects by the beginning of the Showa era (around 1930). Their works were mainly churches especially related to the Missionaries of Charity but they also designed some prominent commercial buildings and office buildings as well as Western style houses and cottages in Karuizawa. Also, Vories contributed to the modernization of Japanese houses by his book, "Designing My Home". Although his designs were sometimes criticized as the mere application of American design, or lacking original style, his designs involve many ideas to fit the Japanese climate and way of living. The common themes of his designs are practicality, simple but rich designs, as well as friendly and abundant space. These features reflect the spirit of service to respond well to clients' needs, which is the basis of his architecture.

Architectural Works in Omi Hachiman

Photo Description
(The letters and numbers in the boxes below refer to their locations on the map)
The houses of the Omi Mission (1914) The residences of Vories, Waterhouse, and Yoshida respectively from right hand (north).  ‚c
These are the colonial style which is often observed in suburbs in the United States . The Vories lived in this western-style house in Ikedacho from the time of their marriage in 1919. Many tourists visit this area with Vories' Western houses.
The Hitotsuyanagi Memorial House; Vories' house (1932)  ‚X
The Vories spent the latter half of their life in this house. This is now called the Vories (Hitotsuyanagi) Memorial House.
The Omi Kyodaisha Gakuen (Omi Brotherhood Academy) (1931). On the left side is the Education Hall and on the right side is a kindergarten.   ‚W
The kindergarten was built through a contribution by Mr. A. A. Hyde, the founder of Mentholatum, 10 years after Makiko opened the Playground in her house for children.
Omi Ryoyoin (Omi Sanatorium); Vories Memorial Hospital. On the left hand is the main building (1918) and on the right is the new annex (1935).   ‚P
Though it is simple, it has noteworthy characteristics as a sanatorium that co-exists with the beautiful environment and nature. It is said that a $5000 contribution by Ms. Zucker provided the initial funding for this building.
Kibokan (The House of Hope); former Goyokan (1918)  ‚Q
This is an antituberculosis dispensary in the Vories Memorial Hospital. Each room receives plenty of sunlight. The patients have adequate privacy and communication.
Former Hachiman Post Office (1921)  ‚P
This is a rather small building but remarkable as one of his early works. Unfortunatelly, it has no entrance now. The round front wall reflects his favorite Spanish style. A local organization is trying to restore this building.
Hachiman Commercial High School (1938)  ‚P‚U
The current school building is made with ferroconcrete and its design is not in a traditional style, but it is function-oriented, which was the mainstream at that time. The central part is designed like louver covered with coladon color tiles. This school is the place where Vories worked first as an English teacher when he was 24. He must have designed this building with special feelings.

The Buildings Map

  There are 28 buildings designed by Vories still existing in Omi Hachiman. Most of them are placed in the former castle town. A part of the castle town is designated as a historical buildings conservation area where some Vories buildings are found. Old commercial houses and modern ‚vestern houses built by Vories are harmoniously integrated to form a unique atmosphere.

When you walk from the Vories Memorial House to Ikeda (number 18 to 21 in the map), you will find Vories' spirit which incorporates a simple external appearance and user-friendly internal designs.

The Omi Mission preached Christianity to towns around Biwa Lake from Taisho Era to the beginning of Showa reign. At its peak, there were branches of the church in Ominoda, Maibara, Imazu, Katata, Miguchi, Yokaichi, Ochigawa, and Notogawa. They formed a mission network centered by the Hachiman YMCA hall.



former Hachiman Church (1924) 
Katata Church (1930)  
It has a charming half-timber decoration and a bell tower.
Imazu Church (1933) 
The red brick gate and a large front wall which looks like the Spanish mission style match very well.
Miguchi Church and the pastor's home. 
This church is like a simple but elegant ‚vestern house.
Kobe YMCA Hall (second hall) (1922) 
The first hall was designed in the Oriental style. The second hall adopted the Renaissance style. It has heavy red brick walls, the classically decorated eaves, and cornice at the top of the first level. It is a clear-cut and imposing building.
Osaka Church (1922) 
This was the first church in Osaka built in 1874. They decided to build a new building in 1922 and Vories spent 3 years on its design. This was damaged in the Great Hanshin Earthquake but it is being repaired with the support of the Japan Architecture Society and other organizations.




Kwansei Gakuin University (1929) 
A building with a clock tower is in the middle of a mild slope, and there is large open space in front of the building, creating a center of the campus. There are white Spanish mission style buildings surrounding the space. 
Toyo Eiwa Women's School (1933) The building does not exist any more. 
For the 50th anniversary of school's founding, the construction of a new main building was planned to replace the wooden one built in the Meiji Era. The alumni initiated fund raising for the construction, and Vories was asked to design the building.
It has four stories with the bottom floor in a semi-basement. Shallow Spanish tile eaves show on top of the building. The star shaped relieves on the wall and the windows arched in the Spanish style add beauty to the building.
Armost House of Doshisha University 
This is a dormitory named after the Armost House where Jo Niijima studied. It is said that Vories showed his displeasure when he saw an ashtray for guests in the house.
Kobe Women's School (1933) 
Makiko graduated from this school. Some buildings were torn down after the Great Hanshin Earthquake to be replaced by new ones. One of the first two organs which Vories brought back to Japan from the U.S. is still used in the chapel of the school.
Meiji Gakuin Chapel (1916) 
A chapel built in the Gothic style. Vories and Makiko had their wedding here on June 3, 1919). This picture shows the building after expansion.
Ikemizu Gakuen (1926) 
This is one of the most traditional mission schools in Japan, opened in Kyushu in 1879.
On top of the three-story reinforced concrete building is a steeply pitched roof with attic windows. The entrance is shaped in an octagonal tower. The overall building is in the Gothic style. J. H. Vogel, who worked at Vories Architect's Office until 1917, designed this building when

Other Works



Daimaru Shinsaibashi Department Store (1922-1933) 
The main part of the building was built separately in 4 periods. There is the arched entrance imitating a peacock, the symbol of Daimaru department store, at the center of the facade. The most unique feature of this building has many electric spectaculars displayed throughout the store.
Former Daido Life Insurance Company Building (1925) 
Because of the Great Kanto Earthquake which occurred during the design period of this building, earthquake-resistant considerations were carefully integrated in the design. In addition to the outstanding design, modern facilities such as elevators and air-conditioning were installed to make it one of the most notable buildings at that time.
Shufunotomosha Building (currently The Ochanomizu Square) (1925) 
It was one of the first buildings to adopt earthquake and fire-resistant designs during the rehabilitation period after the Great Kanto Earthquake. The current building was rebuilt based on the initial exterior design, and has the Vories Hall inside.
Yaomasa (currently Tokasaikan) (1926) 
This building was planned to be a beer hall, but this was not made known to Vories because he did not drink alcohol. Vories designed it believing that it would be a Western style restaurant. The interior and exterior of the building are carefully decorated with Eastern patterns and unique designs such as "Products from the Sea and Mountains" to make them attractive.
The Shimomura House (Currently Daimaru Villa) (1932) 
It was originally designed as the house for Shotaro Shimomura, the owner of Daimaru. President Shimomura, who had great knowledge about European architecture and art, requested a British design in the medieval period for his house. Having good understanding of Shimomura's taste through his involvement in designing the department store, Vories designed his house in the traditional British Tudor style. The building is also called "Chudo-ken".