Hiroshima/The influence of the U.S. in the destruction and reconstruction of Hiroshima

The influence of the U.S. in the destruction and reconstruction of Hiroshima

During the post-war reconstruction period, the involvement of the western countries in the urban reconstruction plan became frequent. Ideologies and modern architecture prevailing in the western world started to be influential in the nation with the return of numerous architects and critics from overseas. Although the urban fragments remained after the atomic bomb were preserved and highly respected, the shift from Japanese tradition to post war modernism was inevitable at that time.

 

In the post war period, nationalistic sentiment among the Japanese did not entirely defer any involvement from the U.S. in the reconstruction of Hiroshima. In fact, during the consultation before the reconstruction started, the Hiroshima authorities received advice from foreign consultants, including an American park planner, Tam Deling in 1947. He suggested to build a Peace Memorial and to preserve buildings near ground zero (below the explosion of the atomic bomb). The authorities then enacted the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Reconstruction Act in 1949, which provided the city special grant aid and the international competition for the design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was announced in August that year.

 

Starting from the Hiroshima peace park project by Kenzo Tange, the modern style of the Peace Memorial Museum expressed the Le Corbusier influences. Graduated from the University of Tokyo, Tange was deeply inspired by the work of Le Corbusier. Such influence could be perceived from the reinforced concrete articulated building, with supporting pillars sharing the same expression from the Corbu’s patented piloti. Tange did not want to replace the Japanese traditional elements, which are embraced in his early works, but to convince the people that large architecture built in social human scale was in demand.

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