Chapter 1 The relationship between architecture and cities
Our company has a history spanning some 70 years. It was founded by my father Kenzo Tange in the turbulent postwar period of recovery after Japan’s defeat. During this time, he embraced two values which he handed down to us. One of them is an approach to design that takes into consideration the relationship between architecture and city. It is quite possible that my father was the first architect in Japan to take up this approach.
From design that focuses only on a building to an approach that takes into account the relationship between architecture and the city. As an example of this concept, let’s look at the landscapes of Tokyo and Hiroshima. These two cities are quite different. So it follows that the architecture that complements these cities is unlikely to be the same. Even within Tokyo, architecture designed for the districts of Aoyama, Ginza, and Asakusa should be different. My father called people who designed with this in mind “urbanists.”
Raised from childhood by his side, closer to him than any other, I treasure these values and concepts and strongly desire to pass along these inheritances to future generations.There is a school of thought that claims that architecture must be unique. We do not refute this. However, we do not believe that it should only be unique.
What kind of architecture does a city require? What kind of architecture is both unique and harmonious with its surroundings? In what ways do cities that achieve this kind of architecture flourish? We consider each of these things when putting shape to our client’s thoughts and hopes.
It is important to consider the city in terms of its architecture, and envision the future of the city from an architectural perspective. Considering only one of the two is not enough; both sides must always be kept in mind.
This is the reason that the Japanese name of our company contains the word “city.” It does not mean that we focus on architecture only for large cities; it means that we are attentive to both architecture and the city and that we continuously take into consideration the relationship between “hard” and “soft” aspects to achieve architecture most appropriate to the current and future requirements of the city.