Sogestsu Art Center

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Architect Kenzo Tange
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Location Tokyo, Japan
Date 1955 to 1957   timeline
Building Type art center with galleries
 Construction System concrete
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern
Notes with Nagashima and Okamura. Timber frame detail enlarged in concrete for regional echoes.
Images Available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated

Discussion Sogestsu Art Center Commentary

"The main bulk of the Sogestsu is raised above a deeply recessed, glazed entrance floor which lies between the forecourt and the reat sculpture garden. Entering from the forecourt, a visitor climbs eight steps which run the full length of the building. These steps, similar to a Greek stylobate, help to detach the open foyer from the busy street. Viewed from the street, Sogetsu presents an almost impervious facade, broken only by a row of six little hooded slits on the second-floor level. By sinking the auditorium of building partially into the ground, Tange has used its roof as the floor of the entrance foyer and as the sculpture garden."

— Robin Boyd. Kenzo Tange. p33.

"The centre is devoted to ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement....The offices and a lounge are on the first floor, while the classrooms for the teaching of ikebana are on the second. The sculpture garden can be converted into an open-air theatre, and sculptures can be exhibited in the terrace-garden. Some of the facades are clad in ceramic tiles, while the others are of concrete. In addition to the work of Japanese artists there are pieces by Mathieu, Sam Francis, Léger and Miró."

— Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange: Works and Projects. p101.

The Creator's Words

"...The city must serve as a place to live, a place to work, a place to play, and a place for traffic involved in these three activities. The most important factor involved in making a city an organic entity is in all probability the core. After analysing the function and structure of the city, we come upon an even more important question which is that of a comprehensive method of linking the various functions. However, the house, the street, the district, the city—these various levels of the community are the elements which compose a city. Each type must have a certain degree of unity and perfection, and at the same time it must open on to the higher level and create a system for a larger entity. We must consider the problem of preserving identity at each level, and at the same time we must find some way of making the meaning and value of each element comprehensible within the total system."

— Kenzo Tange. from Paolo Riani. Kenzo Tange. p24.

Resources Sources on Sogestsu Art Center

Robin Boyd. Kenzo Tange. First Printing. New York: George Braziller, 1962. NA1559.T33 B6. LC 62-16267. p33.

Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange: Works and Projects. 1st spanish/english edition. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1989. ISBN 84-252-1400-9. NA1559.T33K83 1989. p101.

Paolo Riani. Kenzo Tange. London, New York. The Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1970. Color plate, f16.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. exterior photo, p215. — Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Sogestsu Art Center

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