Culture

The Modernism which lives in Nature

Kenzo_Tange_1981

The designer of the tallest building in Japan, the “Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, Shinjuku” and winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is also the author of the urban plan for the city of Skopje. Unfortunately, only a small part of Kenzo Tange’s project was realized; as the Railway Station and the complex of buildings called “City Wall”. This complex reflects the the architect’s distinguished taste for planning and combining living and working spaces, as well as his influence from the traditional Japanese architecture, which main goal is to be a part of nature. That is why the center of the city is an elegant combination of concrete massive blocks with parks and trees.

According to his plan (which was not realized) all the traffic was supposed to go along the same level as the railway station- that is based on high concrete columns. How very unfortunate this was never built, since this would have been an excellent solution against traffic jam. Kenzo Tange received this project from the UN, in order to help the rebuilding of the destroyed city from the earthquake in ’63. Later, he became one of the 20th century greatest architects in the world. The habit of working together in a team on equal grounds, he took from his friend Walter Gropius. Hence, in his designs, he was strongly (especially in the beginning of his career) inspired by Le Corbusier, whom he met before he became a student of architecture. In the 50’s he became part of the movement that was lately called the Metabolist one, and was also one of the founders of architectural structuralism.

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He also did the urban plans of the cities of Tokyo and (for the restoration of the destroyed city) of Hiroshima. From 1963 till 1974, he was a professor at Tokyo University. His lectures were amazing, so he was frequently invited to lecture in other universities. In 1964, the “Yoyogi National Gymnasium”, a facility for the Olympic Games, was opened. In 1967, he prepared the urban plans for the Fiera districts in Bologna and Libirino in Catania. He also designed the St. Mary Cathedral in Tokyo and is the author of the façade of the “Supreme Court Building” in Islamabad. Some theoreticians consider Kenzo Tange as part of the brutalist movement and,  consequently, as the architect that had the greatest influence on British architects during the 60’s. In the 60’s and 70’s, Tange was the most wanted architect in the world; in the 80’s he was invited by the mayor of Paris – Jacques Chirac – to design the master plan for a plaza at the “Place d’Italie” that interconnects the city along an east-west axis.

Igor Pop Trajkov

Categories: Culture, English

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