Kenzo Tange and Hiroshima: Obsession with the urban core (都市のコア)in Tange’s Urban Planning (1950s)

Tange expressed his appreciation of the citizen square in medieval time and the machi (町) centers in Edo Japan as public spaces. For Tange, a core of the city is another essential component in urban planning in addition to axis[1], and it’s of profound significance to post-war modern cities growing in density.

Fig 1. Diagram of Tange Lab’s Wakkanai master plan, Source: Otani Sachio

Tange once defined urban center as a place “absorbed fixed population groups of commuting workers and students and fluid population group, which gather to enjoy its amenities”[2] and because of this his ideal of a core of a city is the combination of a government center and a community center [Fig 1]. He did a lot of experiments of such combination in his later designs of a series of governmental buildings in 1950s like the Kagawa Prefectural Office where he elevated the buildings with pilotis to open the ground floor as public space.

Fig 2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Exhibition Hall with crop lines marked in red by Kenzo Tange, photo taken on inauguration day on August 6, 1955

In the design of the Peace Memorial Park, same approach is used for the main building of the Peace Memorial Museum which situates on the north-south axis of the park. With this approach, Tange aims to create a holistic view of the city for the pedestrians [Fig 2], and to construct the city image as a whole instead of many fragmented pieces. But the difference in the case of the Peace Memorial Park is, since the new Hiroshima governmental building had been decided to situate on the original site and could not be incorporated in the park plan, Tange decided to extend the park (a community center) to a culture center in the central park area (where Tange conceived designs of a series of cultural facilities) on the other side of the river.

 

[1] 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

[2] Saikaku, Toyokawa, The Core System and Social Scale: Design Methodology at the Tange Laboratory, Kenzo Tange Architecture for the World, 2002, 18-20

 

Bibliography

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

Saikaku, Toyokawa, The Core System and Social Scale: Design Methodology at the Tange Laboratory, Kenzo Tange Architecture for the World (Zurich: Lars Muller, 2002)

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