Kenzo Tange (1913-2005) and his FCG Headquarters Building (1990-1996)

Kenzo Tange is considered to be one of the most important architects of the 20th century. He was born in 1913 in Osaka and died in 2005 at the age of 91. He made the decision to become an architect when he saw Le Corbusier’s designs in a Japanese magazine in de 1930’s.

In 1938 he graduated from the university of Tokyo’s Department of Architecture where he became an assistant professor in 1946. He worked in the office of Kunio Maekawa from 1938 to 1941. In 1946 he established the Tange Laboratory, where he exchanged fruitful ideas with Sachio Otani, Takashi Asada, Taneo Oki, Fumihiko Maki, Koji Kamiya, Arata Izozaki and Kisho Kurokawa.

Tange earned international recognition in 1949 when he won the design competition for the Peace Park and Peace Center of Hiroshima. The great master in the use of raw concrete, the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, had a decisive influence over Tange in the 1950’s. During this period, Tange built a considerable amount of public buildings like congress palaces, libraries and city halls. In his early designs he tried to combine modernism with traditional Japanese forms of architecture. Kenzo Tange received a degree in engineering in 1959. In 1961 he established Kenzo Tange + Urtec which later turned into Kenzo Tange Associates. From 1963 to 1974 he served as professor of urban engineering at the University of Tokyo. Towards the end of the 1960’s he adopted a more abstract international style, rejecting the earlier regionalism. From the 1970’s Tange’s work thrived in many nations around the world.

He reflected the influence of Le Corbusier in his urban philosophy, becoming the ruling principle for the generation of comprehensive cities full of mega structures that combined service and transportation elements. His functionalist ideas associated him with the Metabolist movement, although he never became a member of the group. Tange was awarded with the gold medals of the RIBA (1965), the AIA (1966) and the French Academy of Architecture (1973). In 1987 he was granted the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The biggest part of his structures are made from armed concrete, the most suitable modern material for the construction in Japan where, due to the earthquakes, the use of steel and glass are very limited.

The city of Tokyo wanted to create a new city sub-center in Tokyo Bay. The FCG (Fuji-Sankey Communications Group) Headquarters Building forms a part of this new multi-center urban structure. The urban landscape in which this building is situated was profoundly analyzed before Tange could make his preliminary design proposal. The building was purpose-built to ensure the future needs of an international information oriented society. This building now serves as the headquarters for Fuji Television and Nippon Broadcasting. This building is very interesting because its design incorporates the latest technology of the communication industry and it had to be responsive to the demands of the new multimedia era. Its style is modern and neo-metabolist. A composition analysis in terms of functional changes for the future was necessary for the design. The relationship between its various parts is shown by separations and connections. The complex is composed of two towers with a framework of sky corridors with the form of square tubes that support a huge sphere and connects the two towers, symbolizing the sense of unity of the Fuji-Shankei group. It seems he made intuitive decisions about the appearance of the building while in fact the designing process was a functional way of planning and establishing form. The building has a kind of industrial appearance in the distance with his megaframe and the huge sphere serving as architectural motives. The construction system used for this building is metal cladding. One of the towers contains space for offices and the other small studios (commercial offices and broadcasting). The megaframe superstructure allows the realization of the complex program of this building with multiple objectives and complicated circulation systems, and expresses the communication (flow of people and information). The open grid-work created by the sky corridors expresses openness in the transfer of communication. The sphere gives fascinating views of the Waterfront District and the Tokyo Center.

FCG (Fuji-Sankei Communications Group) Headquarters Building
Tokyo, Japan 1996
Site area: 21,102.22 m_
Developed are: 14,171.006 m_
Floor area: 142,789.78 m_
Floors: 25 aboveground 2 underground 1 PH
MAX Height: 123.45 m
Structure: S, SRC, RC

The Key word list I have used for my essay was made in 2005 and the key word list number I have used is 133

The key words applied in my essay are:
tradition (design)
urban landscape
design proposal preliminary
composition analysis
decisions (intuitive)
designing (planning, establishing form)
building (industrial)
architectural motives