Olympic Arena
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Architect Kenzo Tange
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Location Tokyo, Japan   map
Date 1961 to 1964   timeline
Building Type sports stadium
 Construction System concrete, steel cable
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern, structural expressionist
Notes "Tokyo Olympic Stadium". Swooping roof suspended on two 13" steel cables.








Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Section Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

Discussion Olympic Arena Commentary

"Together with a number of other important projects which Kenzo Tange carried out after 1959, the Olympic stadia in Tokyo can be regarded as the culmination of his career, designed in 1960 and built in 1964, on a par with the highest achievements of the Japanese tradition... The plan [of the larger stadium] is in the form of two semi-circles, slightly displaced in relation to one another, with their unconnecting ends elongated into points. The entrances are located in the concave sides. The roof is supported on two reinforced concrete pillars, and is made up of a system of steel cables onto which enameled steel plates are then soldered. The curving form of the roof serves to make it more resistant to wind, which can reach hurricane force in this region.

— Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange: Works and Projects. p128, 136.

The Creator's Words

"I do not believe that regionalism is an expression of the visible idiom which has been applied in a specific region traditionally. Many regionalists proceed like this, but in my opinion it is a mistake to assume that the mere fact of regional differences could elicit creative energy. I believe that regionalism can lead to a result if each region with its own contradictions and difficulties fixes creative standard in order to overcome the local tradition. I believe that tradition neither be preserved nor converted into a creative impulse. Creative work is expressed in our times in a union of technology and humanity. 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 piece of creation, but it can no longer be creative itself."

— Kenzo Tange. from Udo Kultermann, ed. Kenzo Tange: 1946-1969 Architecture and Urban Design. p9.


Address: 1, Jinnan 2-chome, Shibuya-ka, Tokyo

Sources on Olympic Arena

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. separated units diagram, p167. — Updated edition available at Amazon.com

Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange: Works and Projects. 1st spanish/english edition. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, S.A., 1989. ISBN 84-252-1400-9. NA1559.T33K83 1989. p128, 136.

Udo Kultermann, ed. Kenzo Tange: Architecture and Urban Design, 1946-1969. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. LC 70-111288. NA1559.T33K8 1970. p9. photo of interior in its olympic pool configuration, p217.

John Julius Norwich. The World Atlas of Architecture. New York: Portland House, 1988. ISBN 0-517-66875-0. axonometric drawing showing interior, p389. axonometric drawing showing exterior, p389. — Available at Amazon.com

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. roof-removed drawing, aerial photo, p263. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at Amazon.com

Paolo Riani. Kenzo Tange. Twentieth century masters. London, New York: The Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1970. Color plate, f37. Color plate of interior adapted as an ice rink, f38. Aerial view of the Olympic buildings, p33.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. grayscale photo, p261.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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