Most exhibits I hear about, I end up not going to. It always slips my mind and then it's over by the time I remember. But I was really drawn to this one on the legendary Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange.
It may be because I think his design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is brilliant. Or just that I know many of his works, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
. Though really, most likely because his smile reminds me of a long-ago grade school boyfriend, if you must know. (I know, you didn't ask..but I decided to over share. Ha.)
Gallery Ma is operated by ToTo Ltd. (the company famous for making those Japanese toilets, bless them). The gallery opened in 1985 as part of the company's social contribution program, and specializes in architecture and design. This was my first time here but as tiny as it was, the use of both indoor and outdoor space was wonderfully unique.
Displayed were rows of contact sheets of 35-millimeter film images that Tange himself had taken, mostly of his own projects. And as much as I've always been into his work and history, I learned a few new things regarding Kenzo Tange.
- The biggest surprise for me was that Tange had grown up in Imabari City, which is where my parents currently live! I had no idea. This explains why he has so many projects there, such as the Imabari City Hall and Imabari City Assembly. A lot of concrete. I'm going to have to go see for myself next time I go back to my parents place.
- It's a known fact that Tange designed the current Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, but I actually did not know that he also designed the previous Government Building, too. It was located near Yurakucho Station, where the Tokyo International Forum now stands.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is my favorite designs by Tange. But I learned that it was his debut project! Wow. Not only that, he designed the entire Peace Park. No wonder I've always loved that entire area. He specifically designed the building elevated on pillars so that you could see the Atomic Bomb Dome from the museum. (Side note: Tange went to high school in Hiroshima so he had strong ties to Hiroshima even before he became an architect)
All in all, a very educational and informative exhibit on Tange's earlier projects. And did I mention it was free? This gallery is definitely on my radar now. If you like architecture or design, this is definitely a great place to visit. You can see a list of their upcoming exhibitions here
On my way back home, I called my dad to ask if he knew that Kanzo Tange was from Imabari. He didn't know either.
Here are some photos:
TOTO GALLERY MA
TOTO Nogizaka Building 3F, 1-24-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都港区南青山1-24-3 TOTO乃木坂ビル 3階
TEL: +81 3 3402 1010
HOURS: 11:00am-6:00pm (Closed Mondays and Holidays)