Ando’s architectural style is said to create a “haiku” effect, emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity. He favors designing complex spatial circulation while maintaining the appearance of simplicity. A self-taught architect, he keeps his Japanese culture and language in mind while he travels around Europe for research. As an architect, he believes that architecture can change society, that “to change the dwelling is to change the city and to reform society”. “Reform society” could be a promotion of a place or a change of the identity of that place. Werner Blaser has said, “Good buildings by Tadao Ando create memorable identity and therefore publicity, which in turn attracts the public and promotes market penetration”
Andō Tadao, (born September 13, 1941, Ōsaka, Japan), one of Japan’s leading contemporary architects. He is best known for his minimalist concrete buildings.
“Architecture sometimes has the power to appeal to the human mind and bring about a moment of self-reflection. This power comes not from visible forms but an invisible void or space. This void does not mean a neutral “zero” space. It is like a white canvas that reflects the changes of nature such as light and wind.” – Tadao Ando
Here are 10 of His Most Iconic Buildings :
- The Church of Light
The Church of the Light is a small structure on the corner of two streets at Ibaraki, a residential neighborhood. It is located 25 km north-northeast of Osaka in the western foothills of the Yodo valley railway corridor. The church has an area of roughly 113 m2 (1216 ft2): about the same size as a small house.
“In all my works, light is an important controlling factor,” says Ando. “I create enclosed spaces mainly by means of thick concrete walls. The primary reason is to create a place for all the people, a zone for oneself within society. When the external factors of a city’s environment require the wall to be without openings, the interior must be especially full and satisfying.” And further, on the subject of walls, Ando writes, “At times walls manifest a power that borders on the violent. They have the power to divide space, transfigure place, and create new domains. Walls are the most basic elements of architecture, but they can also be the most enriching.”
“A smooth surface was achieved by adopting a dense engineering quality mix with a slump less than 15cm (6in) and by ensuring thorough vibration with a minimum cover for the reinforcing bars of 5cm (2in) to avoid weathering problems and staining. The density of the concrete results in a glass-like surface that registers the different qualities of light, and tends to dematerialize it. Because Ando’s concrete is so precisely wrought and so smooth and reflective, it produces an illusion of a taut, textile surface rather than presenting it as a heavy earthbound mass. Ando has his own teams of expert carpenters to make the formwork who compete against each other; even so, his walls contain imperfections and are uneven.” (“Church on the Water, Church of the Light” by Tadao Ando and Philip Drew)
2 : Hill of the Buddha
Atama Daibutsu, “Large Buddha’s Head” is a Buddhist shrine at Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo, Japan.
The shrine features a 13.5 m (44 ft) tall statue of the Buddha encircled by an artificial hill rotunda planted with 150,000 lavender plants.
3. La Bourse de Commerce
Located in the centre of Paris, in the area of Les Halles and giving onto the rue du Louvre, this building is emblematic of the history of the city and of its architecture. After an exemplary restoration which has conserved all its beauty, it is now turned towards contemporary creation.
The building has been revived by the contemporary architectural approach of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who creates the conditions for a dialogue between architecture and its context, between heritage and contemporary creation, between the past and the present, between the collection and the visitor. As of today, the Bourse de Commerce is the biggest production entrusted to Tadao Ando in France.
3. He Art Museum in China
The He Art Museum, or HEM, will be made from a series of stacked disks and will have a double helix spiral staircase at its centre.
The museum is funded by Midea Group director He Jianfeng, son of billionaire He Xiangjian. He, or 和 in Chinese characters, means harmony, balance and union – words Ando said he took as a starting point for his design.
“I want to create a museum that can synthesise southern China’s rich diverse cultures that stretches many millennia and the influences that birthed Lingnan architecture,” said Ando.
“I imagined HEM as an energetic central anchor point to all the artistic and regional custom, climate, landscape and civilisation in Lingnan.”
4. Row House in Sumiyoshi
Azuma House (Japanese 東邸), is a personal residence in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan.
It was designed without exterior windows reflecting the desire of the owner to feel that he was not ‘in Japan’, but to compensate for lost light, an interior courtyard with cross walkway was created.
5. Tokyo Toilet project.
Built in Jingu-Dori Park, the toilet was created as part of a scheme run by non-profit Nippon Foundation to upgrade public facilities in the city’s downtown Shibuya district.
Surrounded by cherry trees in a small park around a five-minute walk from Shibuya Station, Ando derived the toilet’s shape from his desire to create a structure that enhanced the park.
“I sought for this small architecture to exceed the boundaries of a public toilet to become a ‘place’ in the urban landscape that provides immense public value,” said Ando.
“Using this clear and simple reasoning for the concept of this structure, I chose to utilise a circle floor plan with a spanning roof and engawa [Japanese porch].”
6. Church on the Water
Chapel on the Water is a privately owned wedding chapel in Tomamu, Shimukappu on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. The chapel faces a large reflecting pool visible through a large floor-to-ceiling window in the Japanese architectural tradition of shakkei.
7. Nagaragawa Convention Center
The Nagaragawa Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center in the city of Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. The name literally translates to Nagara River International Convention Center, but the official English translation drops “international.”
The convention center was built to promote Gifu as a good location for large conventions and has many enticements to attract both domestic and international groups to hold events in the city.