St. Mary’s Cathedral

Architect: Kenzo Tange

Location: Sekiguchi, Tokyo, Japan

Year built: 1964

The cathedral is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo.


The cathedral was destroyed during the bombing of Tokyo during World War II. The design of the cathedral is somewhere between Modernism and Metabolism, between the abstract and the symbolic, between the exterior and the interior bright and shiny dark and rough. The outer shell is made of stainless steel.


One curiosity is to be a cathedral that there is a square or an open public space before the cathedral, as is common in the Western tradition. On the contrary, the church is located next to a road, hidden behind other buildings.


The plan of the building is shaped like a cross, from which eight hyperbolic parabolas.  The parables open upwards to form a cross of light which continues vertically along the length of the four facades. To this rhomboid volume other secondary constructions are added, including the baptistry and the baptismal font.


 In 2004 a large organ built by Italian firm Mascioni was installed.





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