Fuji-Sankei Headquarters, Tokyo
The great Japanese architect Kenzo Tange died Tuesday in Tokyo at age 91. Several days of my last trip to that city, in April, were spent taking a tour of Tange's Tokyo. More than any other living architect I can think of, Tange embodied that which critic Geoffrey Scott, in his famous 1914 book The Architecture of Humanism, deemed to be the three most important criteria of the art of building, i.e. firmness, commodity and delight. That is to say, well-built, spacious, and playful.
Even though Scott, who died in 1929, preceded most of what we think of as "modern architecture," I can't help but think he would have been pleased by much of Tange's work, especially his 1991 Fuji Broadcasting headquarters on the Island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. The first time I laid eyes on it, in 2001, it took my breath away. There is no way that two-dimensional, still photographs can do full justice to it, nevertheless here is one the many details I have taken of the 25-story structure, whose playful proportions are meant to replicate those of a Hi-Def TV screen. Some other photos of the Fuji headquarters and more of Tange's works can be seen here. As they say. . .a big loss.
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