Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Design Competition (1949) – Part II : Alternative Winning Designs

In the Design Competition for the Peace Memorial Park in 1949, there were two other winning entries that got the second and third prize respectively. We would be analysing their proposals and reasons for their lost and Tange’s win in the competition.

2nd Place – Yamashita Proposal

The second place entry (Fig.1) was submitted by Yamashita Toshirou (山下寿郎設計事務所), an architectural firm originating from Tokyo, which still exists today. They proposed a landscape design to be placed on the site, with winding paths throughout greenery that lead to the centre of the site, where the Memorial Building would be built. The form of the open space in front of the Memorial Building thus creates an axis that points to the east, which is the Motoyasu River. In addition, the original West Bank River that was located near the Ota River was erased in this design, to be replaced by thick landscaping.

Fig.1: Yamashita Design Proposal. Source: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/abom/99abom/kiroku/mikan/tousen.html

As the majority of the design consists of dense greenery that surround the buildings in the centre, there are few direct links that connect the Peace Memorial Park from that of the surrounding urban structures: therefore, the design creates a sense of segregated isolation for the Park. In particular, the Park is not linked with the new 100m Road located to the south of the park, which would become a main circulation path in the city. Its weak connections to the city and its urban fabric does not relate well to the history and projected impact on the future of Hiroshima. It symbolizes a future of Hiroshima where the atomic bombing is viewed as a tragedy to be forgotten and isolated from, due to the passive nature of the design. Compared with Tange’s design which is more open and daring in its acknowledgement of the atomic bombing incident and more coherent in its relations to the city, it was no wonder that Tange won.

3rd Place – Ryuzo Proposal

The third place design (Fig.2) was submitted by Arai Ryuzo (荒井龍三) from Yokohama, and it consists an arrangement of landscaping and a Peace Boulevard that points to the Memorial Building, which is located near the tip of the triangular site. The long lines of the roads therefore create an axis that points to the corner of the site, connecting the Memorial Building with the 100m Road at the south of the site.

Fig.2: Ryuzo Design Proposal. Source: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/abom/99abom/kiroku/mikan/tousen.html

As the Memorial Building is placed near the tip of the site, it is separated from the main 100m roads by the Peace Boulevard, diminishing the connection between the surroundings and the main attraction of the Park. In addition, the axis created by the directionality of the roads points only to the tip of the site, which has little significance to the placement of the buildings and roads. In fact, this creates an oblique angle when connecting the roads of the Peace Boulevard to the 100m Road, resulting in an awkward composition overall when looking at the urban scale of the city. Although this design is considerably more open than that of Yamashita’s second place entry in its accessibility, when compared with Tange’s, its connections to the wider site context of the city still leave much to be desired, compounded with its absence to address the atomic bombing dome north to the site. It can be seen why this proposal lost to Tange’s in the competition.

Fig.3: Comparison of the axis of the three winning designs. Source: https://arch-hiroshima.info/arch/hiroshima/p-museum.html


Ebara, Sumiko. “Process Towards the Preservation of Genbaku-Dome 1945-1952: The Site of Genbaku-dome and Itself.” Journal of Architecture Planning, Architectural Institute of Japan, no. 596 (October 2005): 229-34.

“広島の建築・都市を紹介するサイト(一部近県もあり).” 広島の建築 Arch-hiroshima|広島平和記念資料館および平和記念公園. Accessed December 19, 2018. https://arch-hiroshima.info/arch/hiroshima/p-museum.html.


5 Comments on “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Design Competition (1949) – Part II : Alternative Winning Designs

  1. As for the content, please make more comparison with Tange’s scheme and introduce the context of the competition.

    The foremost thing is that you should complete your final assignment with 5 narratives, 5 historical documents and 5 bibliography items before the due date.

  2. This topic is quite sensitive as so many people were affected by the atomic bombing. It must’ve been challenging to thus design keeping in mind the ones affected. Since you mention about Tange’s design that ultimately won, the reader would’ve appreciated if you could elaborate more about Tange’s design and why it was chosen.

  3. A good analysis of the different proposals, I remember you had some nice diagrams in your presentation and it would great to show them here as well.

    I would be curious to know what the park meant for the city and the public

  4. As my studies in Seoul also involves competition for infrastructure, I really like the idea of using competition as a narrative in studying the urban development. However, I think there are many possibilities missing there when studying how the competition was constructed. For example, is the competition held for open submission or for selected entries? Why competition is needed for this project? By using more perspective to look at the competition, the narrative would be much complex.

    Moreover, I think a clear comparison between the runner-up entries and winning entries can be made to justify why the winning one is the most suitable plan for Hiroshima. It would also be great to see your group’s stance towards these entries.

  5. I’m not sure if you have already introduced Tange’s win in other narratives, but maybe a small comparision between Tange’s design and these two is needed as well? So the reasons for Tange’s win would be more clear, as you stated in the beginning of this narrative. Or you could explain your own idea if you think these two designs are better.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.