Kenzo Tange’s Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium will be demolished

The iconic building is apparently in need of expensive restoration, and the local authorities consider it more advantageous to demolish it.

The Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium was completed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in Takamatsu, in 1964, and since 2014 it has been under threat of demolition, after its closure due to a roof leak.

The local governor, Toyohito Ikeda, recently confirmed that the structure will be torn down, arousing anger and sadness in the local population, very attached to the iconic building and who launched a petition to save it, led among others by architect Noriyuki Kawanishi.

The concrete Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium has a distinctive oval structure – intended to echo a traditional Japanese wooden boat – rising at both sides and supported by four huge pillars. This particular shape made it very difficult to repair its concrete roof. The preservation of the building, in fact, would cost two billion Japanese yen – approximately €14 million.

At the moment, nearby, a new sports facility designed by SANAA is under construction. The World Monuments Fund had already warned that this new project could pose a threat to the future of the gym and for this reason in 2018 it included it in its list “World Monuments Watch 2018”.

Although the timing of its dismantling has yet to be announced, Kawanishi believes that work could begin in a couple of years and calls for a greater awareness of the importance of architectural conservation in Japan.

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