AD Classics: Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium / Kenzo Tange

Photo by naoyafujii - Used under Creative Commons

At about the same time as Kenzo Tange’s two huge Olympic arenas for the Olympic Games in the summer of 1964 in Tokyo, there was built in the southern part of Japan a much more modest sports arena of Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture between 1962 and 1964. More after the break.

Kenzo Tange designed the Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium with a Brutalist approach. The Gymnasium doesn’t believe in architectural context or establishing relationships with the surrounding buildings, but rather the surrounding buildings renovate to match the Brutalist gymnasium.

The hall stands on a square site with a lateral length of around 80 meters. The oval structure is carried by four enormous pillars and projects dramatically on both sides, so that the building gives the effect of a ship. The design of the approximately 20 meter high oval interior is determined by the suspended roof, which follows that basic type of the hyperbolic paraboloid.

© Tange Associates

The hyperbolic paraboloid covering the hall with a maximum seating capacity of 2500 is formed by means of cables on which are laid pre-poured concrete slabs about 5 centimeters thick. The design of the building is determined by use of concrete and the resultant effects of heaviness, and for this reason it cannot be compared to the more generously conceived and functionally more appropriate Olympic arenas in Tokyo.

© Tange Associates

In contrast to the solution adopted in the Olympic arenas, where one descends from the entrance to the main-floor level, Tange reversed the approach by ascending into the sports hall. On the ground floor underneath, are conference rooms, offices, a small training gym, technical installations and a kitchen. The building elements on the narrow ends of the hall, which project and dramatically accent the building, correspond to the ascending seating arrangement on the inside.


Architects: Kenzo Tange Location: Takamatsu, Japan Project Year: 1962-1964 References: Kenzo Tange: Architecture and Urban Design Photographs: Tange Associates, Flickr user: naoyafujii

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Cite: Brian Pagnotta. "AD Classics: Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium / Kenzo Tange" 25 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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