Engineering Genius: Marunouchi Station, Toyko

Historic station rebuilt and moved onto seismic buffers and dampers

Marunouchi Station, Toyko
Marunouchi Station, Toyko

The magnificent 1914 station was reopened after its five-year renovation in October last year after one of the most intricate building projects in the world.

The original domed rotundas and the third floor were destroyed by bombing in May 1945 and it was quickly made useable with a simpler roof and a gutted and unused third floor.

As well as restoration of the orginal roof and third floor the whole structure was moved onto 352 underground seismic buffers and 158 oil dampers designed to meet 21st Century earthquake standards in Japan.

The renovation cost ¥50 billion ($529 million) and attention to detail included colour matching new bricks to retain an age-related look and the roof tiles were specially formulated so once fired they did not look new.

The original Marunouchi structure was designed by Kingo Tatsuno, an acclaimed architect – who studied in the UK - of the late 19th and early 20th century who also designed the Bank of Japan HQ in Tokyo, as well as the Manseibashi Station building.

Interestingly the building suffered little damage in the 7.9-magnitude Tokyo earthquake of 1923 thanks to its brick and steel frame construction supported by 10,800 pillars in the foundation. As fire broke out across the capital, the station became home to around 8,000 refugees.

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