Japan wants to demolish a modernist gymnasium by architect Kenzo Tange

The Kagawa Prefecture sports complex in Japan, designed by the 1987 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kenzo Tange, will be demolished.

According to Dezeen, the architectural monument was closed in 2014 because of a roof leak. Now, it is for this reason that the sports complex, which needs a large-scale reconstruction, is planned to be demolished. In late February, this was confirmed by local governor Toyohito Ikeda.

The news provoked huge criticism from the local architectural community, which launched a petition to preserve the building, as the decision was made without public discussion.

Photo: Bigjap via Wikimedia Commons

The concrete gymnasium was designed by architect Tange in the 1950s. It has an expressive oval structure rising on both sides and supported by four giant pillars. The shape of the building was supposed to resemble a traditional Japanese wooden boat.

Although the timeline for dismantling the building has not been disclosed, local architects believe that work could begin in two years. The community notes that no one has made any effort to raise funds for the preservation of the building, which could cost an estimated two billion Japanese yen (about $15 million).

Photo: Noriyuki Kawanishi

At the same time, the chances of restoring the building are diminishing, as a new sports complex designed by the SANAA architectural studio is already under construction nearby.

The World Monuments Fund included this building in the World Monuments List in 2018, making it one of eight heritage sites in danger of extinction.



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