ultramarinus – beyond the sea


Built for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium and its adjacent pavilion are two of the most iconic works of Japanese modernist architecture by Kenzo Tange. The roof of the stadium was the largest suspended roof at the time. The stadium was an early attempt to combine modern structural engineering with traditional Japanese aesthetics, creating a piece of modern architecture that the world had never seen before, less than two decades after Japan was devastated by World War Two.

There was hardly anyone at the stadium ground except a few occasional passersby and a young man making a sketch of the building. Under the afternoon sun, the concrete panels glowed in an orange polish, revealing how astonishingly well maintained the building is after half a century has gone by. At such a central location between Meiji Shrine and Shibuya, the ground of Yoyogi would come under spotlight again in 2020 when the Olympic Game returned to Tokyo. It would be interesting to see how Tange’s architecture still plays a role in the grand sporting event 56 years after its original opening, alongside with Zaha Hadid’s controversial stadium.


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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo

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