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Pritzker Prize Winner Kenzo Tange Dies

Interior of Tange's Museum of Asian Arts in Nice
©Bernard Annebicque/ Corbis Sygma

On March 22, 2005, architect Kenzo Tange, 91, passed away at his Tokyo home. Tange will be remembered for his accomplishments both as an educator and as an architect. Born in Osaka in 1913, Tange graduated from the Department of Architecture of the University of Tokyo in 1938. After working for Maekawa Kunio, he went back to school as a graduate student in urban planning. In 1963 he returned as a professor to his alma mater where his students included Fumihiko Maki, Arata Isozaki and Kisho Kurokawa.

A prolific designer, Tange established himself as a leader in the field with the 1955 completion of the Hiroshima Peace Center, a Modernist masterpiece that memorialized the city’s decimation by the atomic bomb. Tange’s swirling concrete stadium for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was a marvelous feat of engineering that became a symbol of Japan’s post-war prosperity. In 1990,Tokyo City Hall, a 48- story pair of towers, became an instant landmark in a city where individual buildings rarely stand out.

The recipient of numerous prizes and awards both within Japan and around the world, Tange received the AIA Gold Medal in 1966, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1987 and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale in 1993.

Naomi Pollock