In the early 20th century, the architectural style known as high modernism appealed to all powers – democratic, fascist, and Communist. Modernism, especially in the imagination of architects like the Swiss Le Corbusier, promised to re-focus buildings away from tradition and towards a functionality that would also, owing to its very aesthetic and form, create new kinds of citizens. Le Corbusier’s buildings were often criticized, though, for their numbing quality and inorganic lines. Kenzo Tange, a student of Le Corbusier, sought to change this. Combining Le Corbusier’s sweeping concrete vision, Tange’s “metabolism” combined modern forms with organic ones and became influential in 1960s-era Japan and beyond. Rather than the modernist notion that modern architecture would make modern subjects, Tange envisioned a mutual becoming, one that also fused elements from Japanese traditional architecture, the natural world, and the imaginary of modernism.
Before his death in 2005, Tange was responsible for building the Peace Center in Hiroshima, the Tokyo Olympic arenas, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and others. He won the prestigious Pritzker Prize in architecture in 1987.