Tadao Ando

The primal power of Tadao Ando derives from his sublime use of one material - CONCRETE. Broad, flat, pale, subdued, and gray form of concrete may not sound like a formula for pleasure. But think about Tadao Ando’s architecture and images of sleek, smooth concrete are sure to fill the mind's eye. Ando represents the serene, economical, side of elegance using concrete. There is little doubt that anyone in the world of architecture will not be aware of his work. That work, primarily in reinforced concrete, defines spaces in unique new ways that allow constantly changing patterns of light and wind in all his structures, from homes and apartment complexes to places of worship, public museums and commercial shopping centers.

Ando's architecture is characterised by the use of unfinished reinforced concrete structures, simple geometric forms, manipulation of light, and engaging nature. Ando’s concrete is often referred to as “smooth-as-silk.” He explains that the quality of construction does not depend on the mix itself, but rather on the form work into which the concrete is cast. The first impression of his architecture is its materiality. His hard walls seem soft to touch, admit light, wind and stillness.

Ando 's work is characteristically simple, and we can find similar forms in the first half of 20th century.  But most remarkable works of his are certainly the religious buildings. He has built a number of Christian chapels and other places of religion and contemplation. One of the most amazing church he built is also one of his simplest.

A self-trained architect, Ando studied traditional Japanese architecture and travelled across the world studying Western architecture and techniques. Combining modern Western architecture and the simple geometric forms of traditional Japanese architecture. Ando is the recipient of the 1995 Pritzker Architecture Prize.  

Ando sets up elegant interactions with nature and in his own way he brings in indoors through delicacy and simplicity of traditional Japanese architecture. That he achieves that effect with concrete is ever charming paradox of his work. The concrete, termed as flat and pale still works wonders in his hands.  

The Master: Tadao Ando
Tadao Ando born on September 13, 1941, in Osaka, is a Japanese architect whose approach to architecture was once categorized as critical regionalism. Ando has led a storied life, working as a truck driver and boxer prior to settling on the profession of architecture, despite never having taken formal training in the field.

His Inspiration:
Tadao Ando often uses Zen philosophies when conceptualizing his structures. One theme he expresses in this work is the dual nature of existence. He works primarily in exposed cast-in-place concrete and is renowned for an exemplary craftsmanship which invokes a Japanese sense of materiality, junction and spatial narrative through the pared aesthetics of international modernism. He  also draws his inspiration from Japanese culture and its relationship with nature. Ando rejects the rampant consumerism visible within much of today's architecture. He responds both sensitively and critically to the chaotic Japanese urban environment, but maintains a connection to the landscape. Although Ando rejects cultural fads, he uses materials and forms to incorporate the materialism of modern society into his architecture. Accordingly, his concrete and glass buildings reflect, the modern progress underway in both Japan and the world.

His Philosophy:
Its his incursion that one can actually live in a harmonious, close contact with nature. Japanese traditional architecture is created based on these conditions. And he made this a reason to have a very high degree of connection between the outside and inside in architecture. Tadao Ando's body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for architectures that follow the natural forms of the landscape (rather than disturbing the landscape by making it conform to the constructed space of a building). The architect's buildings are often characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths. These paths interweave between interior and exterior spaces formed both inside large-scale geometric shapes and in the spaces between them. Ando developed a radically new architecture characterized by the use of unfinished reinforced concrete structures. Using a geometric simplicity which reveals a subtlety and richness in spatial articulation, Ando has generated an architecture that shares the serenity and clarity that characterize traditional Japanese architecture.

A legend remembered:
You can't really say what is beautiful about a place, but the image of the place will remain vividly with you.

You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see.

I believe that the way people live can be directed a little by architecture.

I would like my architecture to inspire people to use their own resources, to move into the future.

My hand is the extension of the thinking process - the creative process.

There is a role and function for beauty in our time.

When I design buildings, I think of the overall composition, much as the parts of a body would fit together. On top of that, I think about how people will approach the building and experience that space.

His Impact — His Projects:
Row House, Sumiyoshi, 1979
Church of Light, Osaka, 1989
Water Temple, Awaji Island, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, 1991
Himeji City Museum, Hyogo 1991/96
Art Site Naoshima, Kagawa, Japan 1992
Vitra Conference Pavilion, Weil am Rhein 1993
Chikatsu-Asuka Museum, Osaka 1994
Oyamazaki Museum, Kyoto 1995
Komyo-ji Temple, Ehime, Japan 2000
Awaji Yumebutai, Hyogo, Japan 2000
Sayamaike Museum, Osaka-fu 2001
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, Missouri, 2001
International Library of Children's Literature, Tokyo 2002
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas 2002
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, 2002
Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima, Kagawa prefecture, Japan, 2004
Rokko Housing I, II, III, Rokko, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, 1983, 1993, 1999
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, UK, 2003  
Chapel on Mount Rokko, Kobe-shi, Japan 1986
Church of Light, Osaka 1989