Kenzo Tange’s Prize-winning “Factory of Peace”: Designing from the Perspective of Hiroshima’s Urban Structure (1950s)

Kenzo Tange’s prize-winning design for the Peace Memorial Park clearly demonstrated his consideration with the urban structure and was therefore thought to be the most successful proposal among all the entries. Firstly, Tange’s involvement in the city’s reconstruction plan gave him the opportunity to conceive the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as the “heart of Hiroshima” from an urban planner’s perspective. His proposal on urban planning featured an emphasis on functionalism and zoning, and responded to the idea of creating the “Urban Core”, which was the theme of the 8th CIAM. This suggested that his plan was designed from the point of view of the urban structure.

Moreover, a competition juror named Hideto Kishia commented that Tange’s design proposal was awarded the first prize because of its axial composition and harmony with the comprehensive urban structure. His design proposal included the existing 100-meter-wide boulevard as an access road and incorporated the monumental ruins of the Atomic Bomb Dome as the apex of the central north-south axis. With the intent to promote lasting peace, Tange incorporated the concept of peace in his proposal and he called his design “Factory of Peace”. According to Tange, “Peace is not naturally given from the gods, but it should be searched for. This facility is not meant to commemorate peace in an abstract way, but it is for actively producing peace. I hope that my building works as a factory for peace.” Tange successfully illustrated a deliberate shift in the perception of Hiroshima from a tragic reminder of destruction to a hopeful monument of world peace. His axial layout of the park took into account the urban structure of the city and embodied the idea of peace commemoration as a future-oriented ideology in the narration of Hiroshima’s traumatic history, which was why his design was awarded the first prize of the competition.

Model of Kenzo Tange’s prize-winning proposal of the Peace Memorial Park, 1949

Bibliography

Cho, H. (2011). Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Making of Japanese Postwar Architecture

Lin, Z. (2006). City as Process: Tange Kenzo and the Japanese Urban Utopias, 1959-70.

1 Comment on “Kenzo Tange’s Prize-winning “Factory of Peace”: Designing from the Perspective of Hiroshima’s Urban Structure (1950s)

  1. Very thorough research about the topic. The idea of peace in urban planning seems quite abstract and hard to achieve, but it seems Kenzo Tange’s attempt was quite successful.

    Tange was also known for his work on metabolism, do those concepts influence this plan or did he just focus on the idea of an urban core?

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