Tadao Ando, a native of Osaka, is without doubt Japan’s most renowned architect. Largely self-taught, Ando was influenced by such celebrated architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn. He was the 1995 recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Ando’s masterpieces ranged from apartment complexes to places of worship, public museums and commercial shopping centers. Although Ando-designed buildings can be found in many countries throughout the world (Spain, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Nepal, and the U.S., to name a few), Kobe and surrounding areas are blessed with many Ando masterpieces, particularly from Ando’s early years as an architect. His architectural tours de force speak of the spirit of architecture and emphasize the association between nature and architecture.
Ando’s architectural style creates a “haiku” effect, favoring austere nothingness and empty space to evoke the beauty of simplicity. This simplicity reflects the influence of Zen, emphasizing inner feeling over outward appearance.
Tadao Ando’s body of work is characterized by the creative use of natural light and structures that emphasize the natural shapes of surrounding landscape, instead of forcing the landscape to adapt to the space and contours of the building. Many of Ando’s buildings make use of complex three-dimensional circulation paths that weave between indoor and outdoor spaces, creating largish geometric shapes in the in-between spaces.
Ando’s use of reinforced concrete as a primary material defines spaces in a novel manner that allows changing patterns of light and wind in his structures. Thick concrete walls create various enclosed spaces—spaces for the individual as a separate being, and spaces for the individual within society. The austere clean lines have a spiritual quality.
Church in Tarumi: The Church in Tarumi (1993), one of two Protestant churches designed by Ando, creates a unique spiritual place using a freestanding curvilinear wall to shade an inner garden, protecting it from surrounding noise. When one enters the garden, one experiences a sense of unsurpassed tranquility, intimacy, and subdued light. It is interesting that, although Japanese and Christian churches have distinct characteristics, Ando treats them in a similar manner with respect to use of light and sense of spirituality. For more information, please click on this website.
The Rokko Row Housing One and Two: Ando’s housing complex in Rokko Shinohara consists of a series of terraces and balconies, atriums and shafts. These two housing complexes appear to spring Athena-like from the side of the hill, while appearing to cling precariously to the same hills. The designs for Rokko Housing One (1983) and for Rokko Housing Two (1993) reflect various unique features of Ando’s signature architectural innovations—the interplay of solid and void, the contrast between open and closed spaces, and the contrasts of light and darkness. Please click here for more photos. http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Rokko_Housing_One.html.
Currently Available Tadao Ando Buildings
Please click here for information about Tadao Ando-designed properties in the Kobe area that are available for rental or investment.