Kenzô Tange

(1913—2005) Japanese architect

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Japanese architect. After graduating from Tokyo University (1938) he joined Maekawa's office, where he absorbed the influences of Le Corbusier. In the early 1940s he began to draw on allusions to traditional Japanese architecture, and in 1949 won the competition for the Hiroshima Peace Centre Community Centre and Museum (1949–56), his first major building, which was presented to CIAM in 1951 and announced his arrival on the international architectural scene. Then followed several buildings in which Tange developed forms using up-to-date technology, and quickly achieved status as a leader of the Modern Movement in his country, arguing for a synthesis between Japanese and Western design. His Kagawa Prefectural Offices, Takamatsu (1955–8), relied for its effect on the expression of posts and beams, but the Sports Arena, Takamatsu (1962–4), and St Mary's RC Cathedral, Tokyo (1961–4), were more dynamic, the last with a basic cruciform plan and paraboloids superimposed. This theme was developed further in the National Gymnasium, Tokyo (1961–4), seating 15,000 people protected by a tensile catenary roof-structure.

Tange's work has involved research into town-planning, including a design for the expansion of Tokyo based on rapid-transit systems, areas of high-density housing, and a major extension of the urban fabric into the sea at Tokyo Bay (published as A Plan for Tokyo, 1960). He also developed schemes for multi-purpose blocks linked in various ways. His Yamanashi Press and Broadcasting Centre, Kofu (1964–7), has 16 cylindrical services- and stair-towers acting as huge columns, with floors spanning between them according to their functional requirements. This, and the Tokyo plan, were potent influences on Metabolism. In the 1970s his designs developed strong affinities with architecture in Europe and the USA. The dynamism of his earlier work was superseded by a refinement of detail, and later buildings included the Bulgarian (1974), Iranian (1975), and Turkish (1977) Embassies, the Tokyo Prince Hotel (1983–7), the City Hall Complex (1986–92), and the United Nations University (1990–2), all in Tokyo, and the Japanese Embassy in Mexico City (1976–7. He obliquely criticized Functionalism, stating that only the beautiful can be functional.

Altherr (1968);R. (1976);Bettinotti (ed.) (1996);Bognar (1985, 1995);Borrás (1975);R. Boyd (1962);Kalman (1994);Kulturmann (ed.) (1970);Kulturmann et al. (1989);Miyake et al. (eds.) (1989);Mühll et al. (1978);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Tange (1960, 1970);A. White (1990)

Subjects: Architecture.

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