Kenzo Tange

 


 

  Kenzo Tange

 

Was born in the small city of Imabari, Shikoku Island, Japan. He won the Pritzker Prize at the age of 74. Although becoming an architect was beyond his wildest dreams as a boy, it was Le Corbusier's work that stirred his imagination so that in 1935, he became a student in the Architecture Department of Tokyo University.

In 1946, he became an assistant professor at Tokyo University, and organized the Tange Laboratory.
His students included Fumihiko Maki, Koji Kamiya, Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Taneo Oki.

Tange was in charge of the reconstruction of Hiroshima.
His Peace Park and Centre made the city symbolic of the human longing for peace.

In the year in which he won the Pritzker Prize, Tange revealed his plans for the new Tokyo City Hall Complex.
 

 

Since built, the complex comprises an assembly hall, a civic plaza, a park, and two tower buildings.

Tange has been a guest professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a lecturer at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Washington University, Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Universities of Alabama and Toronto.

The thesis for his doctorate in 1959 was "Spatial Structure in a Large City," an interpretation of urban structure on the basis of people's movements commuting to and from work.

His "Plan for Tokyo 1960" was the Tange Team's logical response to these problems, giving thought to the nature of the urban structure that would permit growth and change. His Tokyo Plan received enormous attention world-wide, for its new concepts of extending the growth of the city out over the bay, using bridges, man made islands, floating parking and megastructures.

Other urban design and planning projects were begun in 1967 for the Fiera District of Bologna, Italy, and for a new town with residences for 60,000 in Catania, Italy. With all of his activity in Italy, it is not surprising that Olivetti retained him to design their Japanese headquarters.

For his Tokyo Cathedral of Saint Mary, he visited several medieval Gothic examples. "After experiencing their heaven-aspiring grandeur and ineffably mystical spaces," he says, "I began to imagine new spaces, and wanted to create them by means of modern technology."

Yamanishi Broadcasting and Press Center in Kofu, Japan uses many of Tange's new theoriesócylinders house staircases, elevators, air conditioning and electrical equipment systems. The horizontal spaces connecting them are likened to the buildings along a street. Some plots are vacant and others are occupied. The most important aspect was the expansion potential. Open spaces between floors which now serve as terraces and roof gardens could be enclosed when needed.

Tange's only completed project in the United States is his expansion of the Minneapolis Art Museum, originally designed in 1911 by McKim Mead & White in the neoclassic style. Completed in 1975, the expansion, almost doubling the size of the original 120,000 square foot structure, was accomplished with large symmetrical wings.

In Singapore, Tange has a number of major buildings completed: the Overseas Union Bank, the GB Building, the Telecommunications Centre, and the Nanyang Technological Institute.

The Akasaka Prince Hotel in Tokyo has become an important landmark. Others include the Sogetsu Center, the Hanae Mori Building, the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History, the reconstruction of parts of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the Tohin School, the Ehime Prefectural Culture Center ó and new projects that are still in the design stage, such as the Yokohama Museum of Art, and the Tokyo Headquarters of the United Nations University.

In all of his projects, there is a recurrent theme that Tange has verbalized, "Architecture must have something that appeals to the human heart, but even then, basic forms, spaces and appearances must be logical. Creative work is expressed in our time as a union of technology and humanity. The role of tradition is that of a catalyst, which furthers a chemical reaction, but is no longer detectable in the end result. Tradition can, to be sure, participate in a creation, but it can no longer be creative itself."

 

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