(Tokyo 1963) Renewal of Tsukiji District

The plans of the two projects, the Tokyo teleport Town and Minato Mirai 21 (fig 1.1), were challenged with the fast changing societies. They were slowed down heavily due to the ever changing economic conditions and the developments were unable to appropriately react due to the inflexibility of the master plans. Hence, both projects never reached the outcomes as they were conceived in late 1980s and a new approach was needed for developing in a high-density urban environment (2).

Fig 1.1: Tokyo Teleport Town and Minato Mirai 21
Fig 1.1: Tokyo Teleport Town and Minato Mirai 21

Proceeding from the 1960 Tokyo plan of a high-order traffic system, which gave structure to the entire civic axis, a network of elevated lattices with perpendicular roads were developed in the commission from the Head office of the Dentsu advertising company, to redevelop the Tsukiji area in Tokyo and for the Communication centre of the Yamanashi region built at Kofu in 1967.(1) This give structure to the forms of buildings to be built above the axis (fig 1.2). The redevelopment proposal for the Tsukiji area in Tokyo was a more actualized version of the Tokyo plan in 1960, where the intensified vertical cores would carry people, information and energy upward. In accordance with necessity, Tange would build one of these cores after another and suspend bridge-like buildings between them, where this system created building core after core so that the whole would grow into three-dimensional lattices.

Fig 1.1: Plan for the redevelopment of the Tsukiji quarter
Fig 1.2: Plan for the redevelopment of the Tsukiji quarter

Anticipating for such an organic expansion, Tange expressed this principle in the Tsukiji district, where the complex of the Denstu Corporation was characterised by an enormous space lattice and numerous rectangular cores soaring up that lifted gigantic horizontal trusses which interconnected in the air (fig 1.3). These inhabitable trusses extend outward in different directions and along with multi-level highways underneath, it demonstrated the tendency for growth into the rest of the city.(3) By Tange’s observations of the site, located along the express highway No. 1, he foresees the future development growth of the site. “The design was based on the idea that extending the core system right and left and forward and rearward with these horizontal spaces would enable the building to conform to all kinds of future development” (4). This generative system, articulated with the core and truss combination, evolved from the “pilotis and core” system in the design of the central business axis in the 1960 Tokyo plan where he believed the structural approach would generate a basic pattern to elicit an orderly growth of the entire city (fig 1.4).

Fig 1.2: The complex of the Dentsu Head office building
Fig 1.3: The complex of the Dentsu Head office building
Fig 1.4: Diagram illustrating the spatial layout (S= space, C = Core element)
Fig 1.4: Diagram illustrating the spatial layout (S= space, C = Core element)

Although his Dentsu project was not realised, Tange gained confidence in the “technical feasibility of the three dimensional network”(5), which he soon applied it into the design of the Yamanashai Press and Broadcasting Center. Despite the drastic differences between these two projects in term of their scales and urban contexts, Tange conceived their designs in a way similar to the planning of a Metabolist city. He wrote “the building is at once a single spatial type capable of change and growth, and a space established within a three dimensional communication grid. This is is a proposal for both a single building and for urban design.”(6)

Fig 1.4: Communication centre for the Yamanashi Region, Kofu
Fig 1.4: Communication centre for the Yamanashi Region, Kofu

Bibliography:

(1) Lin, Zhongjie. Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan. New York: Taylor and Francis Group, 2010. Print.

(2) Kenzo Tange, “Technology and Humanity,” Japan Architect (Oct. 1960): 11 – 12

(3) Kenzo Tange, “From Architecture to Urban design”, Japan Architect (May 1967): 26.

(4) Pernice, Raffaele. “Metabolism Reconsidered. Its Role in the Architectural Context of the World.” Department of Architecture, Waseda University, 5 May 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. .

(5) Kenzo Tange, A Plan for Tokyo, 1960: Toward a Structural Reorganization (Tokyo: Shikenchikusha, 1961), 12.

(6) Kenzo Tange, “Function, Structure and Symbol” in Udo Kultermann, ed., Kenzo Tange 1946 – 1969: Architecture and Urban design (Artemis Zurich: Verlag Fur Architektur, 1970), 245.

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