The Afternoon at the Tange By Tange Exhibit 

I finally made it to Tange By Tange 1949-1959 exhibit, right before it ended!
Most exhibits I hear about, I end up not going to. It always slips my mind and then it’s over by the time I remember. But I was really drawn to this one on the legendary Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange.
It may be because I think his design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is brilliant. Or just that I know many of his works, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Though really, most likely because his smile reminds me of a long-ago grade school boyfriend, if you must know. (I know, you didn’t ask..but I decided to over share. Ha.)
Gallery Ma is operated by ToTo Ltd. (the company famous for making those Japanese toilets, bless them). The gallery opened in 1985 as part of the company’s social contribution program, and specializes in architecture and design. This was my first time here but as tiny as it was, the use of both indoor and outdoor space was wonderfully unique.
Displayed were rows of contact sheets of 35-millimeter film images that Tange himself had taken, mostly of his own projects. And as much as I’ve always been into his work and history, I learned a few new things regarding Kenzo Tange.
Such as…
  1. The biggest surprise for me was that Tange had grown up in Imabari City, which is where my parents currently live! I had no idea. This explains why he has so many projects there, such as the Imabari City Hall and Imabari City Assembly. A lot of concrete. I’m going to have to go see for myself next time I go back to my parents place.
  2. It’s a known fact that Tange designed the current Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, but I actually did not know that he also designed the previous Government Building, too. It was located near Yurakucho Station, where the Tokyo International Forum now stands.
  3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is my favorite designs by Tange. But I learned that it was his debut project! Wow. Not only that, he designed the entire Peace Park. No wonder I’ve always loved that entire area. He specifically designed the building elevated on pillars so that you could see the Atomic Bomb Dome from the museum. (Side note: Tange went to high school in Hiroshima so he had strong ties to Hiroshima even before he became an architect)

All in all, a very educational and informative exhibit on Tange’s earlier projects. And did I mention it was free? This gallery is definitely on my radar now. If you like architecture or design, this is definitely a great place to visit. You can see a list of their upcoming exhibitions here.
 On my way back home, I called my dad to ask if he knew that Kanzo Tange was from Imabari. He didn’t know either.
Here are some photos:

TOTO Nogizaka Building 3F, 1-24-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都港区南青山1-24-3 TOTO乃木坂ビル 3階
TEL: +81 3 3402 1010
HOURS: 11:00am-6:00pm (Closed Mondays and Holidays)

7 thoughts on “The Afternoon at the Tange By Tange Exhibit ”

  1. Tange Kenzo is a favorite of mine as well. How interesting that he and your parents share the city of Imabari. Small world.

    Nice use of the magnifying glass over the contact sheets at the museum.

    I still think the 1964 Olympics Yoyogi Gymnasium complex is one of my favorite Tango Kenzo “art”itecture projects. But I also like his Yamanashi Broadcasting and Press Centre in Kōfu even though they refer to the style as Brutalist. I was sad to see the passing of his ”赤プリ

    It is said that the cenotaph that he designed for The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima was supposed to be much larger but postwar economic conditions precluded that.

    Is this the kind of smile you were talking about?

    It’s nice to see them, man and work, together here.


  2. I like Yoyogi Gymnasium, too. It's sad to see many of his works demolished but at least in this day and age, we have numerous photographs and videos documenting his works while still standing.

    Isn't his smile fabulous? 😀


  3. Okay, a quick stop to the Imabari City Hall complex is in the works for me. 🙂

    The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reminded me of my university. There was a building that really had similar features. It was more brutalist in design, and probably similar in flavour. Designed by Arthur Erickson. You can see the building in question in the top right photo of the wiki page.

    You just lead me on a very deep rabbit hole of looking at buildings and trying to figure out who my favourite architects are. 😛


  4. Please take pictures of the Imabari City Hall complex!!!

    I'm going back for Obon again this year so I'm hoping I can explore a bit. Tange really experimented with concrete and it's interesting to see how his works have evolved over the years. Also, I love that now I have a connection with him through Imabari!

    Ohhh you're right, your university building does look similar to the Hiroshima Peace Museum! And it's a square! I like this one, too. Both of these architects must have had similiar influences as they were architects in the same era.

    Beware of that rabbit hole, it can be an endless pit! 😀


  5. I'll try to share the photos quickly but no guarantee.

    Arthur Erickson has more than one style, but he did visit Japan so he may have had some influence that way.

    Also, the rabbit hole stopped after an hour. 😉


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