Hiroshima/1946-1953/The Children’s Center in Kenzo Tange’s Peace Park plan
99Under the “Peace Park Plan” by Kenzo Tange, one of the most important issue in the city reconstruction was to build a place for the children affected by the bomb attack, which aims to provide a better growing environment for nurturing the future generations in Hiroshima. The “Children’s Center” was the first project built parallel with the memorial park, themed “paradise of children”, located in the bomb detonation area.
[The Children’s Center is located in the north of the Peace Memorial Park] (1)
To build a fresh living environment with wider heterogeneity of lifestyles, and to take the future development also in the consideration, the center was designed to be a green area of mixed recreational facilities, such as sports field, swimming pool, arts museum, library and parks. The river view was opened at every place on the land.
[Children’s Center masterplan, facilities highlighted] (2)
In fact, the design truly shows Kenzo Tange’s attitude towards ideal city form. From the book published later in 1966, Kenchiku to Toshi: Dezain Oboegaki (Memo of Architecture and City), he proposed linear green city as a replacement of the old centralized city form when he was working on the city planning project of Tokyo. The red line in the masterplan indicates the axis where the major buildings are lying on, and when we study the Nakashima (central of Hiroshima) overall plan, we can see that the major buildings in the memorial park also align on the extension of the axis. In addition, the Genbaku Dome (atomic bomb dome) and the Hiroshima Peace Monument are in the middle of the axis, central point of the whole peace park plan.
[maps showing the alignment of buildings] (1)
In Kenzo Tange’s proposal of the Children’s Center, he emphasized the three keywords in his design: healthy, bright and lively. His thought was achieved by dividing the facilities into different building clusters and integrate the surroundings by green landscapes.
[figure and ground map which indicates the openness of the center area] (3)
The Hiroshima Children’s Library
[exterior view at night]
The Hiroshima Children’s Library was built in April 1952. The mushroom shape core allows free plan and glass curtain wall which turns the building highly penetrable by natural light, that creates a cozy and comfortable reading environment. The library was built specifically for children and kept around 2300 books. Sometimes there was not enough chairs for visitors during weekend.
[The library was built specifically for children.]
Due to new town development plan, the building was demolished and replaced by the Hiroshima Cultural and Science Museum for Children, and the model of the original library is now displaying in the museum.
The Cultural Activities Center for Children was a building which provides lectures and tutorials in various topics, such as culture, arts, music and science. (5)
(1) Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University. Hiroshima Heiwa Kagaku. 1977. p.78
(2) Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University. Hiroshima Heiwa Kagaku. 1977. p.90
(3) Tange, Kenzō. Kenchiku to Toshi: Dezain Oboegaki. Tōkyō: Shōkokusha, 1970
(4) SHINKENTIKU Vol.29 JULY 1954.
(5) “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.” HIROSHIMA PEACE SITE. Accessed December 09, 2016. http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/index2.html.