Kenzo Tange, 1913-2005

Technology and Humanism

Álvaro Varela 

Kenzo Tange was born in 1913 in Osaka and partly schooled in Hiroshima. Influenced by Le Corbusier as well as Proust, Valéry, Gide or Heidegger, he decided to study architecture at Tokyo Imperial University, where he had professors like Shozo Uchida and Hideto Kishida. Tange then already showed a liking for monumentality, and Sishida, seeing his graduation project, remarked on its similarity to Le Corbusier’s work, although traditional Japanese architecture would always be present in his work. From the start Tange’s dream was to reform Japan’s chaotic urban growth by exploring a language based on precedents in the western classical world, for which he delved into the study of public spaces in Greece and Rome, all the while keeping his Japanese roots alive, his vision being a double one of past/present and East/West...

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