Aging, landmark buildings by famed architects pose headaches for local officials

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Aging, landmark buildings by famed architects pose headaches for local officials
The Kagawa Prefectural Gym in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, was designed by Pritzker-winning architect Kenzo Tange
Aging, landmark buildings by famed architects pose headaches for local officials
The Kagawa Prefectural Gym in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, was designed by Pritzker-winning architect Kenzo Tange

When internationally renowned architect Kenzo Tange (1913-2005) designed the uniquely shaped Kagawa Prefectural Gym here, it was during a time well before the adoption of modern quake resistance standards.

Today, seismic retrofitting work for the building resembling a giant ship is proving to be a big headache for the prefectural government. The shape of the structure, completed in 1964, required the construction of an expensive special scaffolding.

The Kagawa prefectural government had planned to begin the retrofitting work in spring, but three biddings held between November and February failed to attract any contractor. The estimated price for the project was raised to about 814 million yen ($7.9 million) from 578 million yen.

Still, no contractors came forward during the bidding process.

“The contract rate is too low,” said Koichi Morita, chairman of the Kagawa prefectural association of general contractors. “The gym is of a unique design, so the work cannot help but be more expensive.”

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