Hiroshima/ The unrealized peace park plan by Kenzo Tange

The unrealized peace park plan by Kenzo Tange

Hiroshima’s reconstruction plan as a peace city begun from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park project, an idea of reinventing the city with a large memorial area at its centre, initiated by the Hiroshima officials. In 1949, the plan proposed by Kenzo Tange’s group was awarded the first prize in the design competition for Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. However, Tange’s proposed plan in the initial stage of design, which suggested an expansion of the peace park zone, was unrealized at the end of the construction of the park. Despite the fact that Tange’s final design of the peace memorial park did not deviate from its original concept, the unrealized plan brings us more insight into Tange’s idea of not limiting in the peace park project but the Hiroshima Plan.

Though the details of the north part of the proposed park area were not shown, the connection between the Central Park (Chuo Kouen) and the peace park appeared in Tange’s early design plan. In the Presentation at CIAM8, under the topic of “The Heart of the City”, Tange showed the peace park project plan. The plan represented the heart of Hiroshima by showing a continuum from the Peace Park to Central Park. From this, we can see how Tange considered the project as the peace memorial city plan instead of a park itself. The idea of ‘the heart of the city’ well explained the significance of the park, not an exclusive part of the urban planning, but the core of the city development.

Although the expansion part of the peace park was eventually unrealized, Tange’s aggression of designing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial city was clearly delivered. What if the scale of the project was changed into a larger scale, say an urban master plan, would the reconstruction and development of Hiroshima changed? The result may not deviate much from the realized Hiroshima city, as it was still considered the Peace City of Japan today. However, the reconstruction of Hiroshima might not be able to take place in such a short period of time if the whole city was rebuilt into a large memorial city for the atomic attack. The city recovered at an astonishing speed, however, could not have come back to life without the Peace Memorial Park. The project was far beyond a memorial park itself, but the symbol of the new identity of Hiroshima, the mecca of Peace.

Tange’s proposed plan of the Peace Park(bird’s-eye view), Kenchiku Zasshi, October- November 1949, p.42.
Tange’s proposed plan of the Peace Park(bird’s-eye view), Kenchiku Zasshi, October- November 1949, p.42.

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