Kenzo Tange and Hiroshima: Obsession with the Axis in Tange’s Urban Planning (1950s)
For Tange, the origin of the urban planning is the development of temples and axes instead of the development of houses. In his teaching transcript in Tokyo University, he showed great admiration of the beauty of processional axis leading to the temples in ancient Greece  while criticizing illegible urban street layout where zoning is not adopted. In his ideas, axis is an essential component in urban planning, functioning not only as physical connection but more meaningful as a symbolic connection.
Such idea can be seen in Tange’s earlier design of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (a prototype of the Peace Memorial Park) where a highway is included as an axis to connect Mount Fuji and the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo as an expression of the state power of Japan. [Fig 1]
Tange’s idea of a city axis culminated in the design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. In the plan of the park, which situates at the heart of the city, there are two perpendicular axes. According to Tange’s assistant Sachio Otani （大谷幸夫）at that time, the east-west and north-south axis are used to create the affinity to nature as the geography of Hiroshima is defined by both the Chugoku Mountains lying east to west as and the Ota River running north to south. Later as the east-west axis had been set as the Peace Boulevard and North-south axis the alignment of the museum, cenotaph and the a-bomb dome, the axis was more meaningful for constructing Hiroshima as a Factory of Peace (平和の工場) [Fig 2]. The axis became a symbolic connection between the traumatic past and the future and between monumentality and peace-making. With the north-south axis extending to the other side of the river to the a-bomb dome and later to the Central Park, the axis was no longer axis of the park, it became axis of the city.
 Saikaku, Toyokawa, The Core System and Social Scale: Design Methodology at the Tange Laboratory, Kenzo Tange Architecture for the World, 2002, 15-18
 “As public men, [our forefathers] gave us buildings and objects of such beauty and grandeur, in the temples which they built and the offerings which they dedicated in them, that no room has been left for any of those that come after to surpass them” –Tange
 Mizukawa, Kyosuke. Architect says Kenzo Tange designed Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with “Sense of Remorses”, The Chukoku Shimbun, 2009-07-02
千代章一郎，丹下健三による「広島平和公園計画」の構想過程,日本建築学会計画論文集, 2013-11,78-693, 2409-2416
Mizukawa, Kyosuke. Architect says Kenzo Tange designed Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with “Sense of Remorses”, The Chukoku Shimbun, 2009-07-02
Saikaku, Toyokawa, The Core System and Social Scale: Design Methodology at the Tange Laboratory, Kenzo Tange Architecture for the World, (Zurich: Lars Muller, 2002)