Kenzo Tange and Hiroshima: Evolution of the Peace Memorial Park design – Tange’s ambition to take Hiroshima as a zero-base urban experimental field (1950-70s)

Tange’s design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park has gone through series of evolution and to look through the evolution process we can infer that Tange’s ambition to expand the park plan into an urban plan has been determined in the very first stage of the competition. For Tange, the zero-base Hiroshima, was the best experimental field for his urban thinking and he seized the chance by challenging and pushing the government’s decisions in urban planning.

Fig1. Tange’s site plan for Peace Memorial Park, Source: Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10, 40-42

In Tange’s 1949 competition winning plan [Fig 1] of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial park, which was published in the October- November 1949 issue of Kenchiku Zasshi (建築雑誌, National Magazine of Architecture), the target zone of the park is limited to the Nakajima Park area. However, in this plan, the proposed park had already exceeded the limited area of 12.375 ha as required in the competition brief[1]. At the same time, the north-south axis – the alignment of the museum, cenotaph and a-bomb dome on the other side of the river had been set, implying the later extension across the Ota River. A bird-eye view photo with a perspective view [Fig 2] was also included in the published set of drawing ambiguously showing the Central Park on the other side of the river, also acting as a sign for Tange’s later plan.

Fig2. Tange’s site plan for Peace Memorial Park, perspective view, Source: Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10, 40-42

 

 

Between November 1949 to June 1951, Tange started writing letters mentioning expansion of the target zone for the park[2], and most of them were addressed to city employee called Chimata Fujimoto. Though the scope of the expansion was not clearly described, with the appointment on Children’s Library’s design located in the Central Park area, he officially talked about the Peace Memorial Park’s extension to the Central Park area.

Fig3: Tange’s site plan for Peace Memorial Park, Source: Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1950-4, 30
Fig 4.The Peace Park layout plan , Source:  CIAM 8: The Heart of the City, towards the Harmonization of Urban Life, 1979, 137

In the April 1950 issue of Kokusai Kenchiku, the extended area was shown in published plan along with a series of proposed building group like the Children Center, International Recreational Facilities and International Cultural Facilities in addition to the original peace memorial group[Fig 3]. The park area is in total 70 ha. He presented the same plan in CIAM 8 [Fig 4].

Fig 5. Public and illegal housing site map in the Motomachi District around 1966, Source: Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, 1979, 6

Finally, the expanded plan was adopted by the government but due to the shortage of housing, the park area is reduced to 40 ha by turning part of the Central Park Area into residential area[Fig5][3]. Even so Tange’s plan had been largely realized.

 

[1] Ishimaru, Norioki. Changes in Planning Zone of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Proposed by Kenzo Tange and their significances, 15th International Planning History Society Conference, 1993, 2-10

Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10, 40-42

[2] Ishimaru, Norioki. Changes in Planning Zone of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Proposed by Kenzo Tange and their significances, 15th International Planning History Society Conference, 1993, 2-10

Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10, 40-42

[3] Ishimaru, Norioki. Changes in Planning Zone of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Proposed by Kenzo Tange and their significances, 15th International Planning History Society Conference, 1993, 2-10

Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10, 40-42

 

Bibliography

CIAM 8: The Heart of the City, towards the Harmonization of Urban Life, 1979

Hiroshima Prefecture and the City of Hiroshima in 1978, Commemorative Book for Motomachi District Redevelopment Project, 1979,

Ishimaru, Norioki. Changes in Planning Zone of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Proposed by Kenzo Tange and their significances, 15th International Planning History Society Conference, 1993

Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1949-10

Tange,Kenzo. Kenchiku Zasshi, 1950-4

1 Comment on “Kenzo Tange and Hiroshima: Evolution of the Peace Memorial Park design – Tange’s ambition to take Hiroshima as a zero-base urban experimental field (1950-70s)

  1. I really enjoyed the way you painted Tange’s intentions for Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. But just to clarify, was the Zero-Base Experimental field applicable to the whole city’s planning or just controlled to the designation of of the Memorial Park? And did the compromises he made for the housing projects take a toll on his design intent for the city? (because as future architects, sadly we understand that politics always becomes a significant determinant during decision making)

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