Contemporary Architecture

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building by Kenzo Tange

Below is a presentation on Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building done by Kenzo Tange. I have also added a video from YouTube. Hope you find it useful.

Personal information:

  • An influential protagonist of the Structuralist movement.
  • He believed in combining traditional Japanese styles with modernism.
  • Influenced from an early age by the Swiss modernist, Le Corbusier
  • Winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize for architecture

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building(1991)


  • Computer Chip
  • Gothic Cathedral
  • Traditional Japanese houses.

TMG No. 1 Building

  • The exterior surfaces covered with geometric pattern executed in granite
  • Earthquake resistant structure
  • Observation desk at the top
  • At the top of each tower are satellite dishes pointing in all directions.

TMG No. 2 Building:

  • The smaller building housing government offices is located to the south of the main building.
  • The two structures are joined by the multi-story portico .
  • The style of the south building is less vertical and takes on the form of a cluster of buildings.


  • Acts as an unifying element
  • The portico wraps gently around the plaza, joining it to the main building as well as the assembly hall.
  • Sculptures

The Plaza:

  • The fan-shaped plaza, modeled on the famous Campo in Siena,
  • Acts as a separation
  • Slopes gently up as one moves away from the main structure.
  • An oasis of rare harmony and tranquillity

The assembly hall:

  • The assembly hall is a circular metal-clad structure which looms over the plaza from above the portico.
  • A round window placed at its center

Yoyogi National Gymnasium(1964) v/s Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building(1991):

  • Fusion of eastern and western elements
  • One based on structural principle other on futuristic principle
  • Shift to Monumental Structures from his minimalist ideologies

Conclusion :

  • Kenzo Tange’s attempt to embrace the postmodernist movement of the eighties.
  • Deviation from his general idea of Traditional Japanese Architecture
  • The perfect architectural incarnation of modern Japan

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎 Tōkyō Tochōsha), also referred to as Tokyo City Hall
or Tochō (都庁) for short, houses the headquarters of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which governs not only
the 23 wards, but also the cities, towns and villages that make up Tokyo as a whole.
Located in Shinjuku, it held the title of the tallest building (by roof height) in Tokyo, at 243 meters (799 feet), from
1991 to late 2006, when it surrendered its title upon the completion of Midtown Tower. The two top-floor panoramic
observation decks are free of charge to the public and contain many gift shops. They are open till 11 pm on
weekdays. Use of cameras is permitted, but tripods are forbidden.
The building consists of a complex of three structures, each taking up a city block. The tallest and most prominent of
the three is Tokyo Metropolitan Main building No.1, a tower 48 stories tall that splits into two sections at the 33rd
floor. The building also has three levels below ground. The design of the building (which was meant to resemble a
computer chip), by architect Kenzo Tange (and associates), has many symbolic touches, most notably the
aforementioned split which re-creates the look of a Gothic cathedral.
Finished in 1991 at the expense of ¥157 billion (about US$ 1 billion) of public money, a popular nickname for
Tochō is “Tax Tower”.
The other two buildings in the complex are the eight-story Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building (including one
underground floor) and Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No.2, which has 37 stories including three below ground.

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