Renovation of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is delayed

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On February 8, the City of Hiroshima announced that a major renovation of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will be delayed, resulting in the completion of the project in fiscal year 2018. This is one year later than originally planned. The change of schedule is due to a delay in the preliminary survey concerning anti-seismic reinforcement for the Main Building of the museum.

The Main Building was designed by Kenzo Tange and was completed in 1955. In 2006 the building was designated a “nationally important cultural property.” The building is aging, however, and the city was intending to draw up the plan for anti-seismic reinforcement within fiscal year 2010 while consulting with experts appointed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

However, seismic retrofitting has never before been undertaken on a reinforced concrete building that has become a “nationally important cultural property.” Moreover, a structure of its unique type, which stands on pillars, also takes time to survey. The city therefore decided to delay the commencement of work, which was planned to start within fiscal year 2015, by one year.

Kazuaki Oku, director of the A-bomb Experience Preservation Division, said, “The museum building is a valuable structure and we must renovate it with care.”

The total projected cost for the major renovation of Peace Memorial Museum is 4.67 billion yen. In addition to seismic retrofitting for the Main Building, a new escalator will be installed in the entrance to the East Building, which will lead directly to the third floor. In the initial plan, the actual renovation work was to begin in fiscal year 2013-2014 in the East Building and fiscal year 2015-2016 in the Main Building. For each building, construction will now be delayed one year. During the renovations, the buildings will be closed in turn.

In conjunction with the renovation project, a committee of experts has already discussed the renewal of exhibits at the museum. The committee has agreed to divide the exhibit space of the museum into two general areas: an area depicting Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 that conveys the horrific consequences of the atomic bombing, and an area concerning the A-bomb survivors that conveys their sorrow and pain as well as the loss felt by family members of the A-bomb victims. The committee also determined that exhibits on the aftereffects of the radiation released in the atomic blast should be strengthened.

(Originally published on February 9, 2011)

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