Tokyo 1960s | Architecture between technology and humanity

“The two tendencies – toward shorter cycles and toward longer cycles – are both necessary to modern life and humanity itself. Life, or for that matter any organism, is composed of elements that change and elements that do not change; the cells of the body renew themselves, but the body itself remains stable. In our cities there are changing fashions and unchanging elements that determine the character of the age. The time has come, I think, when we must find ways of overcoming the discrepancies between these two. The problem has emerged in our society as one of mobility.”

Mobility was one of the key problem Kenzo Tange wanted to address. In his point of view, mobility is a complex mixture of scale and speed, a conflict between humanity and technology. Tokyo in the 1960s was at economic bloom with atomic energy discovered and rapid scientific advancement. There is great conflict between the natural human scale and the super human scale created by technology. The tension between automobiles and pedestrians was never that evident, functionally and visually.

That is why Tange wanted to make changes to the city in a mass-human scale – to think of human beings as masses rather than individuals, while still keeping the originality of an individual. Tokyo, has many districts with approximately same population density and buildings with similar height and function… It is difficult to engage the human scale in the superhuman environment. He believed that human ingenuity is the solution to striking a balance between stability and mobility, permanence and change, identity and anonymity, and making individuality and functionality compatible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.