Former Hokkaido Government Building to Regain Original Reddish-Brown Color Dome

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The octagonal dome of the former Hokkaido government office building in August 2020

SAPPORO — The octagonal dome of a former Hokkaido government building in Sapporo will see the return of its original colors for the first time in about half a century after major renovations are completed.

Originally built in 1888, the popular tourist attraction also known as the Red Brick Building was last renovated in 1968, when reddish-brown copper plates were attached to the dome. According to the prefectural government, the dome lost its reddish color due to oxidization caused by wind and rain, and turned blackish about a year after the renovation. The dome turned its familiar bluish green colors over the following decade or so.

Construction work on the building, designated an important national cultural property a year after the last renovation, began in 2019. The renovation will also strengthen the building’s resistance to earthquakes, and is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

“We hope many people will appreciate shades of the dome’s color that will change over a dozen years or so,” said a Hokkaido prefectural government official in charge of the renovation project.

The dome was removed last August and is now located inside a facility next to the building. Work to replace the copper plates is scheduled to begin around October. Tourists and others will be allowed to observe the work. The dome is scheduled to be returned to the top of the building by next summer.

Photo courtesy of Hokkaido prefectural government
The reddish-brown octagonal dome is seen around 1968 soon after the previous renovation.
Photo courtesy of Hokkaido prefectural government
The slightly darker dome is seen in 1969, a year after the previous renovation.
Photos courtesy of Hokkaido prefectural government
Right: The dome is seen in 1969
Left: The dome is seen around 1968