Front View Facade - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Tange’s Residence Facade | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO

The Tange Residence, also known as the Seijo Villa, is an iconic architectural masterpiece designed by the acclaimed Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Built in 1953, it remains the only residential project completed by Tange, making it a rare and exceptional work. The villa’s design embodies the architect’s signature style, seamlessly integrating Western modernism with traditional Japanese elements.

The residence is renowned for its stunning simplicity, clean lines, and use of natural materials, such as wood and stone. The villa also boasts a striking garden that embodies the principles of Japanese landscape design, adding to the overall beauty and harmony of the space. With its unique design and historical significance, the Seijo Villa stands as a testament to Tange’s enduring legacy in the world of architecture.

Kenzo Tange’s House Technical Information

The role of tradition is that of a catalyst, which furthers a chemical reaction, but is no longer detectable in the end result. Tradition can, to be sure, participate in a creation, but it can no longer be creative itself.

– Kenzo Tange1

Tange House Photographs

Side View - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Side Facade | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Exterior View of the house
Back yard | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Side Facade - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Structure of the House | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Soji in Kenzo Tange House
Interior | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Interior Japanese living Room - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Interior | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Ground Floor Space - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Stairs | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Balcony - Terrace - Engawa - Kenzo Tange's House / Villa Seijo
Gallery | © Ezra Stoller/ESTO

Blending Western Modernism and Traditional Japanese Architecture

Kenzo Tange’s residence was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, incorporating many of the principles the French architect had developed years earlier. The house, which has since been demolished, utilized a grid of wooden columns in place of load-bearing walls, freeing up the ground plan for flexible use.

The ground floor served as a shaded, fluid space that blurred the boundary between interior and exterior, creating a seamless connection with nature. Tange had previously employed this technique in his design for the Hiroshima Peace Museum, completed two years earlier.

Despite its Western inspiration, the house incorporated traditional Japanese architectural techniques. The elevated interior, use of wood, two-tiered roof, engawa, and the use of fusuma and tatami are all hallmarks of Japanese design. The tatami mat module served as the basis for the house’s layout, with larger rooms designed for flexibility, able to be separated into smaller spaces by fusuma sliding doors.

The house’s facade was similarly designed with a rhythmic pattern, utilizing two types of facade designs (a and b) arranged in an a-b-a-a-b-a sequence. The two-tiered roof completed the house’s harmonious composition.

In 1954, Kazuo Shinohara designed a house in Kugayama that clearly drew inspiration from Tange’s design. Although built in steel, the house shared the same facade rhythm as Tange’s residence.

Kenzo Tange’s House Plans

Site Plan - © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
Site Plan | © Kenzo Tange
Floor Plan | © Kenzo Tange

About Kenzo Tange2

Kenzo Tange (1913-2005), the 1987 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, is one of Japan’s most honored architects. Teacher, writer, architect, and urban planner, he is revered for his work and his influence on younger architects.

He was born in the small city of Imabari, Shikoku Island, Japan, in 1913. Although becoming an architect was beyond his wildest dreams as a boy, Le Corbusier’s work stirred his imagination, so in 1935, he became a student in the Architecture Department of Tokyo University. In 1946, he became an assistant professor at Tokyo University and organized the Tange Laboratory. His students included Fumihiko Maki, Koji Kamiya, Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Taneo Oki.

Tange was in charge of the reconstruction of Hiroshima after World War II. The Hiroshima Peace Center and Park, beginning in 1946, made the city symbolic of the human longing for peace. Architecturally, the Peace Center shows a deep understanding of traditional culture while simultaneously being a signpost in Japan’s search for a modern style.

Other works from Kenzo Tange  

  1. Source: Kenzo Tange’s Biography – Pritzker Architecture Prize
  2. Source: Kenzo Tange’s Biography – Pritzker Architecture Prize