A former professional boxer and a self-taught architect, since the early 1970s Tadao Ando (b. September 13, 1941, in Osaka, Japan) has developed a very personal architectural vision and style, founded on a precise set of principles and based on an architectural vocabulary that includes the use of bare concrete as the material of choice, a preference for simple geometric forms, the integration of architecture with natural elements such as daylight and water, and the importance he gives to the “physical experience” of architecture.
“In the end, for whom does architecture exist? Given that it is used by people, it has close links with the body. (…) Our bodies perceive all kinds of elements, like air and materials. I learned this by ceaselessly observing architecture. For example, the Katsura Villa is a celebrated aristocratic residence, and we also need this kind of building, but it’s not the only kind. In small spaces, like the machiya houses, you find a tsubo-niwa (a small courtyard), where light and shade enter and rain falls. All the experiences we have in this space are something big for me. Architecture should provide a place for mankind’s sense of joy. Otherwise, our bodies are not attracted by it…” (Tadao Ando, from a conversation with Frédéric Migayrou)
Tadao Ando, whose architectural office is currently based in Tokyo, is also a professor at the University of Tokyo since 1997 and the recipient of many domestic and international awards – including the Japan Art Academy Prize in 1993, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, and the UIA Gold Medal in 2005.
Above: Tadao Ando, portrait by Kazumi Kurigami.
Tadao Ando, Church on the Water, 1988, Tomamu, Japan. Photo Yoshio Shiratori.
Meditation Space UNESCO, 1995, Paris, France. Photo Tadao Ando
Benesse House Oval, 1995, Naoshima, Japan. Photo Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Festival, 1984, Naha Okinawa, Japan. Photo Tadao Ando
Shanghai Poly Theater, 2014, Shanghai, China. Photo Shigeo Ogawa.
Images courtesy of Centre Pompidou, Paris.
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