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COLLECTION Identifier: DES-2011-0012-014379275

The Kenzō Tange Archive -- 丹下健三アーカイブ

Scope and Contents

The Kenzō Tange Archive is comprised of architectural drawings, architectural models, clippings, manuscript notebooks, and print publications from the professional practice of architect, urban planner, and educator Kenzō Tange (1913-2005). More specifically, the archival materials included consist primarily of architectural drawings for 140 projects and printed materials collected by Tange. The architectural and urban projects, both built and unbuilt, were developed during Kenzō Tange's architectural career spanning over 50 years of practice, and have an equally impressive geographic reach, with projects in all continents. The publications include books, journals, and pamphlets, as well as a few portfolios/scrapbooks of clippings, and a couple of manuscript notebooks. Five architectural models are also included in the archive, the original model of Tokyo Bay 1960 among them. The Kenzō Tange Archive does not include photographs, nor job files and correspondence.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1946-1993
  • Creation: 1936-2002 (inclusive)

Language of Materials

Most materials in Japanese. Also includes English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, among others.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some projects in Series A are restricted for 20 years as of date of acquisition given building typology (banks, transportation hubs, private residences, among others).


549.417 linear feet (495 oversize drawing folders + 28 XL-oversize drawing folders; 138 XL-single roll tube + 1 XL-sample multiple roll tube; 27 record storage boxes + 11 oversize storage boxes + 1 document box + 0.5 record storage box (notebooks); 5 models ) : 220 LF + 16 LF = [236 LF] (folders); 207 LF + 2 LF = [209 LF] (tubes); 27 LF + 16.5 LF + .417 LF + 0.5 LF = [44.417 LF] (boxes); 5 crates [60 CF] (models)

Biographical / Historical

Kenzō Tange was among the most influential architects of postwar Japan and is considered the mentor of the Metabolist group. His work brings together international modern aesthetics with traditional Japanese design. Born in Osaka in 1913, Kenzō Tange was enrolled in the architecture program at Tokyo Imperial University from 1935 to 1938, and continued his graduate studies at the same university from 1942 through 1946, when he was appointed assistant professor (Tokyo Imperial University).

In 1949 he was awarded the first prize in the Competition for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, a project that launched him into the international architectural scene. In 1960 he was the program director of WoDeCo (World Design Conference) in Tokyo, where the international participating members (including architects and designers such as Herbert Bayer, Hiromu Hara, Louis Kahn, Masaru Katsumi, Iwatarō Koike, Takashi Kōno, Tomás Maldonado, Fumihiko Maki, Jean Prouvé, Paul Rudolph, Junzō Sakakura, Peter Smithson, Christopher Tunnard, Minoru Yamasaki and Kenzō Tange, among others) signed the World Design Tokyo Declaration. "Metabolism 1960", published soon after WoDeCo, is considered by some architectural historians as the Metabolist manifesto. It includes four seminal essays: “Ocean City” by Kiyonori Kikutake, “Material and Man” by Noboru Kawazoe, “Toward Group Form” by Masato Ōtaka and Fumihiko Maki, and “Space City” by Noriaki (Kishō) Kurokawa.

In 1960 Kenzō Tange also developed a master plan that envisioned the growth of the city of Tokyo over Tokyo Bay and published it as "A Plan for Tokyo, 1960." At the time Kenzō Tange was also teaching a design studio at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on the topic of "A Community on the Sea", where together with his students he also explored the possibility of city growth on the water, in this case for the city of Boston. In 1963 Kenzō Tange was promoted to professor of urban engineering at Tokyo University.

Other notable projects by Kenzō Tange include Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (1958), Kagawa Prefectural Government Building (1958), Kurashiki Civic Center (1958), Yoyogi Stadiums (1964), Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium (1964), Dentsu Building in Tokyo (1967), Yamanashi Press and Broadcasting Center (1967), St. Mary’s Cathedral in Tokyo (1967), Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center in Tokyo, and the World Expo in Osaka (1970, Core Facilities). Among numerous worldwide urban projects, of particular note is the competition for the reconstruction of Skopje, after the devastating earthquake of 1963 for which Kenzō Tange won the first prize, the design development process (including Tange and a team of local architects) was later overseen and coordinated by the United Nations.

Among other awards for lifelong achievements and contributions, Kenzō Tange was awarded a Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects (1965), a Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects (1966), the Order of Culture by the Japanese Government (1980), and the Pritzker Prize (1987). Kenzō Tange died in Tokyo in 2005.


The Kenzō Tange Collection is arranged as follows: Series A (Architectural Projects / Drawings) with each project represented in a single subseries thereunder; Series B (Publication) with Subseries B001 (Books), B002 (Journals), B003 (Clippings and Photocopies), B004 (Office Publications: Minisets, Project Brochures, CVs, RFPs), B005 (Event Related Materials: Proceedings, Event Brochures, Reports), and B006 (Miscellaneous); Series C (Writings and Notebooks); and Series D (Architectural Models).


Gift of Mrs. Takako Tange, 2011.

Preservation Note

Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University, 2014.

Processed by

Tamotsu Ito (drawings and project abstracts), Greg Logan (drawings and publications), Matthew Conway (drawings), Matthew Teissmann (drawings), Niki Murata (drawings), Yurina Kodama (drawings); under the direction of Ines Zalduendo.

The Kenzō Tange Archive -- 丹下健三アーカイブ
A Descriptive Inventory of the Holdings at the Frances Loeb Library
Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Frances Loeb Library Repository

The archival collections at GSD consist of primary source materials that further academic research in the design fields both within the GSD and beyond Harvard University. These materials, individually and collectively, offer engaging documentation of design history, theory, and practice. For further information, please visit:

Gund Hall, Room L12
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