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Kenzo Tange, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Complex, (1949-1955)

Tange attended high school in Hiroshima and in the immediate postwar period conducted field research and produced a redevelopment master plan for the city. Well before the 1949 competition to design the Memorial Complex, he had determined a basic structure for Hiroshima’s reconstruction and the urban context for any kind of architectural intervention on the ground zero site. The memorial’s program consisted of an exhibition hall, public plaza, memorial cenotaph, library and conference center.it is also situated at the southern end of a large urban space system, the Peace Park. Tange’s winning proposal places the main architectural components centered along a line parallel to Peace Boulevard, the city’s main east – west thoroughfare. The exhibition hall, located in the middle, located in the middle, is raised above the ground on pilotis and reveals the memorial garden just beyond. As the Memorial Center Site plan suggests, the design of the overall ensemble was driven by the desire to privilege the sightline from Peace Blvd. to the Atomic Dome, which had miraculously survived, despite it’s proximity to the detonation. As for the design of the cenotaph, Tange’s early proposal called for a large parabolic arch, but after a controversial involvement with Isamu Noguchi, Tange eventually installed a modest sculptural piece modeled after Japan’s prehistoric haniwa terra-cotta vessels.