Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Design Competition (1949) – Part I : Overview

As a part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Design Competition was born from the need to respond to the worldwide movement to establish a symbolic peace city, and also to respond and comfort those who had suffered from the atomic bombing. The site was located in the former Nakajima Park in Hiroshima, which was just across the Motoyasu River from the atomic bombing site.

Before the competition, there were various attempts by citizens and officials to offer their proposals and ideas for reconstruction, however only a few of them were considered and mostly due to the political backing from politicians. The official competition can be seen as a sign for more open participation in the development of the future of Hiroshima after the bombing, where the park area is planned to be a centre of the city.

Fig.1: Call for the Design Competition. Source: https://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/mitokosei/33650066.html

The competition was hosted from the 17th of April to the 20th of July, 1949. The call for designs was posted in several prominent journals and newspapers, which include Chugoku Shimbun (中国新聞), a daily newspaper running in Hiroshima, and the Journal of Architecture and Building Science (建築雑誌), an architectural journal run by the Architectural Institute of Japan. The design brief required the submission of a park complex design on 37,500 tsubo(坪) of land, which was roughly 120,000 m², and would include a peace hall, conference hall, exhibition space, bell tower, gathering hall, offices, library, and canteen. The landscaping of the park and the placement of the roads and plazas had to be also considered in the design.

A total of 132 entries were collected, and the results were announced on the 6th of August, 1949. Kenzo Tange had emerged as the winner of the Peace Memorial Park Design Competition.

Bibliography:

Sendai, Shoichiro. “Conception of Hiroshima Peace Park Project by Kenzo Tange.” Journal of Architecture Planning,  Architectural Institute of Japan, no. 693 (November 2013): 2409-16.

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.

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