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
- Architects: Kenzo Tange
- Location: Seijo, Tokyo, Japan
- Topics: Japanese Houses, Wood, Blurring Boundaries
- Project Year: 1951 – 1953
- Photographs: © Ezra Stoller/ESTO
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
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
Kenzo Tange’s House Image Gallery
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.