ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Churches
  4. Japan
  5. Kenzo Tange
  6. 1964
  7. AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange
AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange, © Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

© Scarletgreen © Mobileart © Scarletgreen © Scarletgreen +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    3-6-15 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
  • Architect

    Kenzo Tange
  • Structure

    Tsuboi Research Center, University of Tokyo
  • Construction

    Taisei Construction Company
  • Client

    Archdiocesis of Tokyo
  • Area

    2541.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    1964
  • Photographs

From the architect. There are some buildings that do not belong to any time or age. The Saint Mary Cathedral of Tokyo by Kenzo Tange is definitely one of these. Of course materials and technologies make it recognizable as a project of the 20th century, but we could easily say that this project has been built yesterday the same as 50 years ago. It’s not usual, in terms of the quality of architecture. And it is not the only quality of this project.

© Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

The Tokyo Cathedral has been completed in 1964, replacing the old wooden cathedral, in gothic style, burnt during wartime. Tange conceived the new church as a concrete structure, simple in concept and complex in shape, which recalls the lightness of a bird and its wings.

© Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

The eight walls – the elements which hold the whole structure – are at the same time roof and walls, enclosing the space and opening to the outside through vertical gaps. The walls are curved hyperbolically to express the tension to the sky, and turning the rhomboidal ground floor into a cross at the roof top. The different heights of the wings, asymmetrical, make it a dynamic shape on the sky background. The highest wing is 39,41 m high.

section
section

The reflection of the sunlight on the stainless steel external cladding looks as a shining dress on the hard concrete slabs. Although it is a monochromatic cladding, the curves and the U-shaped profiles enhance the dynamicity of the structure. It all makes the church an iconic building in the dense urban context of Tokyo.

© Mobileart
© Mobileart

At the basement level the stone blocks play in contrast with the metal wings, hanging to the ground the movement of the walls. The side entrance zone has a lower ceiling area which introduces the main hall.

© Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

The effect of the light on the curved walls, changing at every hour, makes the interior atmosphere extremely involving: direct sunlight and diffused reflections accompany the bending surfaces, and the visitor can immediately see and understand the curving of the concrete walls. 

© Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

The light passes through the glazed gaps, four vertical in between the walls, and four as roof light – the cross at the top. It is a rather dark space, but the contrast dark/enlightened enhance the symbolism of the church as a religious space.

© Mobileart
© Mobileart

The bell tower follows the guidelines of the composition: its four vertical lines are in fact flowing into one, stretching up to the sky. The organ, especially designed to adapt to the space of the entrance, was made in Italy by Mascioni and installed in 2004.

© Scarletgreen
© Scarletgreen

The Tokyo Cathedral is considered one of the most important of Tange’s work, and one of the most interesting architectures in Tokyo. The building puts together an occidental subject and the oriental culture and sensibility, resolving the complexity of the project in a brilliant architecture.

© D. Fajio
© D. Fajio
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Andrea Giannotti. "AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange" 23 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/114435/ad-classics-st-mary-cathedral-kenzo-tange/>
Read comments

23 Comments

archipicture · September 07, 2016

nice images - for some more pictures:
www.archipicture.ch

Bruno Bellomo · July 11, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://t.co/dhXXUsX vía @archdaily

FAUST eduardo · April 02, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange | ArchDaily http://t.co/OvytG6l via @archdaily

ruj rattanapahu · March 07, 2011

????????????????? ? AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange | ArchDaily http://t.co/YZtkdO8 via @archdaily

Eric Bono · February 26, 2011

Today, I learned Nervi was willing to knock off Tange and it was not as dynamic. In fact, it resembled a "large washing machine agitator" and was given the monniker "Our Lady of Maytag" by some.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

???? · February 25, 2011

arch daily????????????????????????????
http://bit.ly/h8UcQq

A57 - Arq. Colombia · February 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://archdai.ly/h76eV1 #architecture

Ayse Teke · February 25, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://tinyurl.com/6ahuodw

mhash · February 25, 2011

I visited this project a couple of years ago while in Tokyo and it is quite stunning.

ryan knock · February 25, 2011

wow, with the title and image I really thought it was this St. Marys:

http://www.greatbuildings.com/...

The similarity is striking, to say the least.

archaerie · February 25, 2011

RT @urbain_: Visiter un classique architectural: St. Mary Cathedral, par Kenzo Tange http://ow.ly/42pBz

URBAIN trop URBAIN · February 25, 2011

Visiter un classique architectural: St. Mary Cathedral, par Kenzo Tange http://ow.ly/42pBz

daqb design · February 24, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://archdai.ly/h76eV1 #architecture

vivipatriajaya · February 24, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://archdai.ly/h76eV1 #architecture

Nishimura Tsubasa · February 24, 2011

??????????????????http://t.co/wDOzIVN

mihairotar · February 24, 2011

RT @subiectiv: Catedrala Sînt? M?rie din Tokyo - http://bit.ly/etY3tV, si acum, daca nu va cer prea mult, comparati cu mintuirea banului ...

Alex Mihaileanu · February 24, 2011

Catedrala Sînt? M?rie din Tokyo - http://bit.ly/etY3tV, si acum, daca nu va cer prea mult, comparati cu mintuirea banului. deh...

ALink · February 24, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange | ArchDaily http://t.co/8m77hmd via @archdaily

Erik Joya · February 24, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange: © Scarletgreen There are some buildings that… http://goo.gl/fb/4wL0n

arch fittings · February 24, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange http://archdai.ly/h76eV1 #architecture

GR2TF · February 24, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange: © ScarletgreenThere are some buildings that do not belong to any ... http://bit.ly/esBeyt

DEZIGN · February 24, 2011

AD Classics: St. Mary Cathedral / Kenzo Tange: © ScarletgreenThere are some buildings that do not belong to any ... http://bit.ly/esBeyt

Jamie Knop · February 24, 2011

Very modernistic yet grand. Reminds me of a local piece of architecture in Manchester the Manchester war museum. Has the same form and construction.

···

Comments are closed

Read comments