Paul Tange

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  • Tuesday, 06 May 2014 09:10
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Paul Tange MODE GAKUEN Cocoon Tower Photograph by Koji Horiuchi

Genius is in the Genes
Interview with Tange Associates President Paul Noritaka Tange

SEPTEMBER 4, 2013 marked 100 years since the birth of one of the most influential architects of the 20 century – Pritzker Prize winning Japanese architect Kenzo Tange (1913 - 2005). Many of Tokyo’s most renowned landmarks are Kenzo Tange’s structures, including the Tokyo City Hall Complex (Tocho); the National Gymnasium designed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; Shinjuku Park Tower / Park Hyatt Tokyo; Akasaka Prince Hotel, as well as dozens of celebrated structures across Japan and the world. A professor of architecture at Japan’s prestigious University of Tokyo, Kenzo Tange mentored many of Japan’s most acclaimed architects including Kisho Kurokawa, Arata Isozaki, Yoshio Taniguchi and Fumihiko Maki.

TJ: Your father had many renowned students and disciples including the late architect Dr. Kisho Kurokawa, who did several projects abroad including the Kuala Lumpur Airport, the new wing of the Van Gogh Museum and the master plan for the capital city of Kazakhstan. He taught and mentored so many great architects.
TANGE: Yes, of course, Mr. Kurokawa, Mr. Isozaki, Mr. Taniguchi and many others. They worked for my father in the seventies and eighties and many graduates of Tange Kenkyushitsu have become leaders in the architectural world. So I believe it was a very rewarding thing for my father to be a professor.

TJ: Tell me about the MODE GAKUEN Cocoon Tower in Shinjuku. It’s fantastic!
TANGE: Thank you. It was quite an exciting project for us because it was a very rare situation where the client came without many restrictions. Their one and only requirement was they wanted to see architecture which they had never seen before.

TJ: There must have been a lot of architects vying for this project given the freedom granted by the client.
TANGE: I believe there were more than 200 entries and we were very fortunate to be awarded first prize and selected for the project.

TJ: How did you come up with the cocoon concept?
TANGE: Well, students have to be cherished and nourished before graduating and entering the real world. So we felt the concept of a cocoon, where one could be nurtured before joining the adult world, would be appropriate.

TJ: Was this an important project for you?
TANGE: Yes, very. It was one of our first large scale project submissions in Japan after my father’s passing.

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