Utopia Across Scales: Highlights from the Kenzo Tange Archive

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) presents the first monographic exhibition on Kenzo Tange mounted in the United States: Utopia Across Scales: Highlights from the Kenzo Tange Archive, which runs from August 26-October 18, 2009. It is the first comprehensive exhibition on Tange anywhere in the world in more than 20 years. The exhibition will draw from the Kenzo Tange Archive in Tokyo and present, for public viewing for the first time, several original models and dozens of original drawings of Tange’s best-known works, including Hiroshima Peace Centre, Kagawa Prefectural Government Building, and Yoyogi National Indoor Stadiums. The exhibition will also feature a visual essay on Tange’s visionary plan for Tokyo Bay in 1960, reexamining the role of housing, monumentality, communication, and scale in Tange’s architectural and urban thinking.


Kenzo Tange was arguably the most important Japanese architect of the 20th century. He played a crucial role in establishing Japan as a leading centre of production and discourse on architectural modernism. The exhibition will also examine the international nature of his practice; his works can be found in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Most notably, he developed the reconstruc­tion plan for the city of Skopje in Macedonia and a plan for the Lumbini Birthplace of Buddha Pilgrim­age Site in Nepal. Tange received numerous awards, including the Pritzker Prize, Gold Medals from AIA and RIBA, and the Order of Culture from the Japanese government.


Tange taught at Tokyo University from 1946 to 1974 and held visiting positions at leading foreign

institutions, including Harvard in 1972. Tange’s research laboratory and office were celebrated incu­bators of talent, including such figures of international renown as Fumihiko Maki, Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Yoshio Taniguchi.


Utopia Across Scales is organized by Seng Kuan, PhD Candidate in Architecture at the Harvard

University Graduate School of Design, with support from the Exhibitions Department of the GSD, and the Special Collections Department of the Frances Loeb Library.


In conjunction with Utopia Across Scales, the Frances Loeb  Library will mount a display of remarkable photographs that Walter Gropius took during his trip to Japan in the late spring of 1954, entitled Distillations: Gropius_Japan_1954. Also showcased will be a series of key historical texts and objects, exploring the role of the West as an interlocutor in the discourse of tradition and modernity in 20th-century architecture in Japan. Distillations is jointly organized by Mary Daniels, head of Special Col­lections, Seng Kuan, and Yukio Lippit, the Harris K. Weston Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.


Also concurrent will be a retrospective display on the 25-year history of the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professorship at the GSD, with an emphasis on student work produced under the guidance of the visitors. Since spring 1984, 30 individuals or partnerships have been appointed to the Chair, including Alvaro Siza, Enric Miralles, Peter Zumthor, and Kazuyo Sejima. In addition, several current faculty members were also recipients of the Chair, including Rafael Moneo, Farshid Moussavi, and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. In the fall semester of 2009, the Chair will be held by Valerio Olgiati.


On September 22, 2009, an Exhibition Talk and Roundtable will take place at the GSD. Speakers will include Paul Noritaka Tange (AB ‘81, MArch ‘85), son of Kenzo Tange and President and Senior Principal of Tange & Associates, and GSD faculty members Gerald McCue, Toshiko Mori, and Mark Mulligan.


Gund Hall Gallery exhibition hours are 9:00am t0 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The exhibition is free and open to the public; for more information, please contact Shannon Stecher at 617.495.4784 or e-mail sstecher@gsd.harvard.edu. For general information about events at the GSD, please contact Brooke King at bking@gsd.harvard.edu. Updated information may be found at www.gsd.harvard.edu/events.