Saint Mary’s Cathedral
Architect: Kenzo Tange
the grotto of Lourdes was built by French Missionary, Fr. Demanger.
being destroyed completely during World War II, the church has to be rebuilt,
and the Diocese
of Koln (Germany) gave its help for the reconstruction. The planning
by Architect Tange Kenzo started in 1960, and the new Cathedral was inaugurated
in December 1964.
History of St. Mary’s Cathedral (Maybe take this to the
It was built in 1899 by the students as the Chapel of the
French Missionaries Seminary, and in 1900 became the church of Sekiguchi
parish. In 1920 became the Cathedral Church of the Archbishop of Tokyo.
Until 1945, when it was destroyed by fire caused by the air
attack, Tokyo Cathedral was a wooden gothic style church.
In the beginning it had a tatami
floor, but in the late twenties the center was filled by chairs. At that time
people used to take off their shoes entering the church.
8 hyperbolic faces
almost vertical make up a big structure in the shape of a cross. It became
famous to the world as a unique church
construction, with steel concrete
covered by stainless steel.
In 1961 Kenzo Tange won a competition to rebuild a temple
demolished during the Second World War. The design was put to life in
cooperation with Wilhelm Schlombs, Max Lechner and engineer Yoshikatsu Tsuboi.
The cathedral was built between 1963 and 1964. The complex is located on an
irregular, pentagonal plot. The development comprises the church (with seats
for ca. 1500 people), a vestry, a missionary house, an information building, a
garden and the archbishop’s residence.
The shape of the church which stands in the middle of the complex is outlined
only by the surfaces of the roof. The form is composed of eight hyperbolic and
paraboloidal layers. Arranged along the edge of a rhomboidal outline, the
surfaces make up the cross of the skylight at the height of 25 metres. A
crevice filled with glass separates particular shapes horizontally at the level
of the finial of the roof, and vertically – with windows that reach the base.
Church – Main paper characteristics:
Influence of Chinese & western culture on Modern Church
In Christianity, a church is a sacred sanctuary where the religious
Christian can assemble to perform their religious duties. In history the Church
has the highest level of power in governing the masses, thus leading to the
most elevated extravagant architectural design
involving innovation, scale, structure, material and engineering. It
made possible to understand that the design had to be built on the highest
level of the western construction technology and artistic value.
St. Mary’s Cathedral: (main focus)
The religious significance has been kept intact as the eight
curved walls ascending from the base to the meet at a level they signify a
cross. Here the religious symbolism has been used and incorporated in
architecture with an innovatively creative process.
The hard walls of pre-cast concrete evoke the words of the Bible: “The Lord is
my rock and my bastion, my deliverer is my God.” (Ps.18,2) They show how God is
the pillar and the foundation for all men.
Scale of the church in relation to the elements of the
The contextual answer to the site of the church in a
contrast, the immediate context is eviscerated and irregular, while the surface
of the Cathedral is smooth and unobtrusive. This impression is further
exaggerated with the color and linear divisions coping with regularity.
We relate the materialist relations and metaphors linking to
factors of architectural essence and religion. The exterior of the Cathedral is
cladded with stainless steel supports and aluminium frames which diffuse light
much homogenously as compares to the environment and its glitter is interpreted
as symbolically the light that Christ makes shine upon the world and hearts of
men. The form is interpreted as an image of hands outstretched as an invitation
to all men. “Come
to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. ”
While the exterior is illuminated by glittering reflection,
the character of the interior space is rather intimate, dark and rough,
provided by huge exposed concrete inclining walls. The plan is in the shape of
a cruciform. Scarce but sharp light is provided
by long longitudinal skylights and windows protruding light into the cathedral
bouncing off the hard interior surfaces. The interior has a eight curved walls
creating a cave-like space, similar to the elements residing in the Ronchamp chapel and the overall stimulus feeling of
the Gothic European Churches. This mainly was the result of Tange visiting medieval
gothic churches and the characters involved with him building the Cathedral.
The cruciform skylight reaches through the structure vertically and extends
down through the facades to the ground level. Another prominent feature is the
free standing tower 60m high piercing the sky with its protruded cross,
asymmetrically composed in the frame to state a bold gesture.
The character of the cathedral’s design unambiguously allows
it to be incorporated into the principles of modern architecture.
design is a special way of understanding reality, which it influences and
transforms. The artful form mirrors reality while at the same time enriching
it. For this process to happen, it is necessary to understand the anatomy of
reality, its physical and spiritual structure as a whole.”
“After experiencing their grandeur, trying to
reach the sky, and their ineffably mystical spaces, I began to imagine new
spaces, and I wanted to create them using modern technology”
This building most strongly reflects Tange’s philosophy of
how architectural creation requires that the anatomy of reality, its substantial
and spiritual structure, to be grasped as a whole Boyd. For Tange, the design
of the cathedral was a contextual response to a religious site. That required
the church goers to feel a sense of awe and wonder at the powerful architecture
which intern would yield a strong emotional response Kroll.