Engineering blog
06 Sep 2019

Celebrating Kenzo Tange

Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, aptly proclaimed: ‘We recognize these sites as symbols of national and local identity, and value the role that their preservation can play in attracting visitors and revitalizing communities.’

The winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize, Tange (1913–2005) became inspired to study architecture when he stumbled upon the seminal works of Le Corbusier in an art journal. He received his degree from Tokyo University, where he later worked as assistant professor; his students included names such as Arata Isozaki, Fumihiko Maki, and Taneo Oki.

Tange was an architect by training but also carried much clout as an urban planner, playing a large role in the rebuilding of Hiroshima after the Second World War. Regarding his famous 1960 plan for Tokyo, the abstract of the ‘Urban Structure for the Expanding Metropolis’ by Zhongjie Lin reads thus:

Tange attempted to impose a new physical order on Tokyo, which would accommodate the city’s continued expansion and internal regeneration. The scheme, featuring a linear series of interlocking loops expanding Tokyo across the bay, has often been regarded as initiating the decade-long megastructural movement.

Tange worked, primarily, in Japan. Some of his most famous works in the country include the Hiroshima Peace Center and Memorial Park, the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the Sogetsu Art Center. In the United States, his only completed project is the enormous 1974 addition to the Minneapolis Art Museum.

Possibly Tange’s most famous (and repeated) quote, which the Pritzker website calls a recurrent theme that has been verbalized, is:

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Architecture must have something that appeals to the human heart, but even then, basic forms, spaces and appearances must be logical. Creative work is expressed in our time as a union of technology and humanity. The role of tradition is that of a catalyst, which furthers a chemical reaction, but is no longer detectable in the end result. Tradition can, to be sure, participate in a creation, but it can no longer be creative itself.



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CAD Evangelist. "Celebrating Kenzo Tange" CAD Evangelist, Sep. 06, 2019,

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