About our founder, Kenzo Tange

Photo by Hiroshi Nomura special thanks/Casa BRUTUS Magazine House Co.,ltd.


1913 Born in Osaka.

1938 Graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Architecture, Tokyo Imperial University

Admired Le Corbusier and joined the architectural design office of his pupil Kunio Maekawa.

Enrolled in graduate school at Tokyo Imperial University in 1941, and, after graduating, taught at his alma mater from 1946 to 1974; then established and became president of Tange Laboratory. Besides cultivating excellent personnel including Takashi Asada, Sachio Otani, Taneo Oki, Koji Kamiya, Fumihiko Maki, Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Yoshio Taniguchi, he was involved in education all over the world at institutions such as the Polytechnic University of Milan, Harvard University, and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

1949 Won first place in the design competition for Peace Memorial Park and Museum held by Hiroshima City.

1951 Invited to CIAM (Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne) where he presented his plan for Hiroshima and made his debut on the international architecture stage.

In the 1950s, he was the first Japanese architect to combine elements of traditional Japanese with modern Western styles of architecture. During this period of postwar Japan, he was involved in design of many public architecture projects such as local government buildings. He designed the Kagawa Prefectural Government Office which integrates the beauty of Japanese traditional architecture with a modern concrete structure that became a prototype for government buildings (1958) in Japan.

In the 1960s, he proposed “A Plan for Tokyo 1960” which emphasized the necessity of structural reform with a communications system for the growing city of Tokyo.

In 1961, he founded Kenzo Tange and URTEC.

From this period onwards, he worked on the issue of special configuration and symbolism which evolved into structuralism. He designed Yoyogi National Gymnasium, the largest cable suspension roof indoor national stadium at the time (1964), and the shell-structure Tokyo St. Mary’s Cathedral (1964).

At the beginning of the 1970s, he worked on national projects such as the design of the master plan for the venue of the Expo ’70, the World Exposition held in Osaka (1970), while simultaneously becoming involved in architecture and urban planning all over the world.

Kenzo Tange won first place in the design competition for the new Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in 1986. He had designed the old city hall located in the Marunouchi area in 1952. He was commissioned once again to be the architect of the two new towers when the government relocated the city hall to Shinjuku. In the same year, he also presented Tokyo Plan 1986.

When the development of Tokyo Bay was underway, he completed the Fuji Television Headquarters Building (Fujisankei Communications Group) (1996), a cutting-edge media center that became a symbol of the whole Daiba waterfront area.

Overseas, he was involved in many works including his contribution to the new lively skyline in the center of Singapore where he built the skyscrapers OUB Centre (1986) and UOB Plaza (1995). In France, he designed the Grand Ecran (1991), a mixed-use facility with a hotel, offices, shopping mall, and theatre. At the same time, he proposed an urban planning project for reconfiguration of the Place d’Italie in the 13th arrondissment in Paris.

He was awarded gold medals from the Académie royale d’architecture (France), the Royal Institute of British Architects (UK), and the American Institute of Architects (US); the Pour le Mérite (Germany), Bunka Kunsho (Order of Culture, Japan), the Pritzker Architecture Prize (US), l’ordre national de la légion d’honneur (France), and was selected as a member of the Academie Française (France).

Kenzo Tange passed away in March 2005.