Kenzo Tange - Kenzo Tange As the Western ideals of Modern...

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Kenzo Tange As the Western ideals of Modern Architecture began to gain influence across the world after World War II, a recovering Japan readily absorbed and dealt with the new forms of design. One Japanese architect that rose to prominence in his merging of the two traditions was Kenzo Tange. He blended various traditional aspects of Japanese culture with modern architecture, and in doing so contributed to new distinct forms of regional architecture in Japan. This paper will examine his philosophies on simplicity, typification, strength, ornamentation, materials, and furyu and discuss how they played out in his various works along with concepts of traditional Japanese culture and design, with more focus on two of his most famous structure, the Hiroshima Peace Museum, and the 1964 Yoyogi Tokyo Olympics National Gymnasium, and also his Plan for Tokyo. Kenzo Tange was born on September 4, 1913 in Imabari, Japan. In 1935 at the age of 22, he enrolled in the Department of Architecture at Tokyo University, between 1942 and 1945 he took the Graduate Course in Architecture at the same university. Tange received all of his training in Imperial Japan before WWII ended (Boyd 11). He began his professional career in the office of another Japanese architect, Kunio Mayekawa, who in turn had worked for Le Corbusier in Paris. Tange became committed to the Modern Movement ideas of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe. Through theses influences, Tange attempted to mold
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them with his interest in traditional Japanese culture (Sharp par.2, 3). Thus, Japanese architecture turned a new leaf, rather than being closed off into past traditions. It is interesting to note that many aspects that the West has accepted as qualities of modern architecture had already existed for centuries in many traditional Japanese buildings. The simplicity, lightness, and openness which contemporary Western designers had been advocating had already been present in the Japanese tradition (Boyd, 1). Another Japanese architect, Noboru Kawazoe, suggested that Japan had already anticipated modern architecture. He stated that steel and concrete frames is akin to timber frames, that a frame structure allows for a free and open plan devoid of solid walls, much like traditional Japanese room design, and that the use of fusuma (opaque sliding doors) and shoji (screen doors or screens) in traditional Japanese rooms gives flexibility to the floor plan because these two elements can be re-arranged (Curtis, 507). Traditional Japanese architecture relied on the use of untreated natural materials used in a natural way, the sensitivity to structural proportion, and the feeling for space arrangement, especially in a way that brings harmony between architecture and nature (Tange, 16). Whether Kawazoe’s statement is correct, it nevertheless offers views of how Tange’s buildings implemented traditional aspects. Elements such as the opaque screen, and bamboo tatami mats can be seen in his Sogetsu Art Center. Zen styled gardens and and courtyards with monochrome slabs and rock
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2010 for the course ARC131, EA ARC132 taught by Professor Richards during the Spring '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Kenzo Tange - Kenzo Tange As the Western ideals of Modern...

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