Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando. Photo by Luca Vignelli

By Lise Laurberg

Japanese architect Tadao Ando spent his early years as a professional boxer and truck driver, until he changed course, taught himself architecture and eventually became one of the Great Fathers of contemporary architecture.

The first building to bring real attention to Japanese architect Tadao Ando (b. 1941), six years after he founded his studio, was his iconic Azuma House / Rowhouse in Sumiyoishi, completed in 1976 in Osaka. The small concrete house took a radical approach toward the city, closing itself completely off and letting the inhabitant enter an entirely private and beautifully organized microcosmos in the middle of a bustling city that had, in the public's opinion, grown ugly and full of houses bereft of charm.

Since then, Ando has completed an almost endless list of buildings both in Japan and other countries, and his buildings all demonstrate the celebration of classical beauty: austere, yet complex compositions of geometric shapes, impressive in situ concrete elements and striking daylight effects are among Ando's trademarks. It seems that Ando does not do 'subtle', and his grandiose style has made him a popular designer of religious buildings as well as art museums, including his comprehensive work at Benesse Art Site Naoshima. Meanwhile, Ando has also continued to design smaller houses - among others 4x4 House on a beachfront site in Kobe, completed in 2003.

The self-taught architect learned his first lessons by studying the buildings of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn, and the inspiration from Western modernism is evident throughout his work. During his long and prosperous career, Tadao Ando has received almost every conceivable prize of architecture, counting among many others the Carlsberg Architectural Prize (1992), the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1995) and the Gold Medal of the AIA (2002).

Visit Tadao Ando & Associates website here.

December 05, 2013 /

Asia Museum of Modern Art
Tadao Ando
Taichung City, Taiwan

Built on a rigid triangular geometry the new “Asia Museum of Modern Art” in Taichung/Taiwan shows Tadao Ando’s skills in building a controlled, high-quality masterpiece that acts as an urban anchor for the surrounding university campus.

Punta della Dogana by Tadao Ando in Venice, Italy. Interior.
Photo © Thomas Mayer
November 16, 2009 /

Punta della Dogana
Tadao Ando
Venice, Italy

A dialogue between old and new elements, a link between the history of the building, its present and its future.

Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat Island
The Maritime Museum,
Image courtesy Tadao Ando Architects
February 05, 2007 /

Saadiyat Island
Tadao Ando
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Four renowned architects have been commissioned by Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) for iconic museums and a performing arts centre.

Langen Foundation exterior glass facade
September 11, 2006 /

Langen Foundation
Tadao Ando
Neuss, Germany

Ando's familiar, concrete like silk, long stairs, ramps and light slits, characterize the building.

Tadao Ando
International Library of Children's Literature
March 21, 2004 /

International Library of Children's Literature
Tadao Ando
Tokyo, Japan

Tadao Ando's addition to the Library creates an interplay between modern architecture and history.

Sayamaike Historical Museum by Tadao Ando in Osaka, Japan. Exterior landscape
Photo: arcspace
October 20, 2003 /

Sayamaike Historical Museum
Tadao Ando
Osaka, Japan

The Sayamaike Historical Museum is located on the edge of Sayamaike Pond, an artificial lake that dates back to the 7th century.

Stone Hill Center by Tadao Ando in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA. Exterior landscape.
Photo courtesy of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute © Jeff Goldberg / Esto
May 12, 2003 /

Stone Hill Center
Tadao Ando
Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

The Stone Hill Center fulfills the Clark's dual role as a public art museum and a major academic and research center.

Garden of Fine Arts exterior
December 09, 2002 /

Garden of Fine Arts
Tadao Ando
Kyoto, Japan

The project was conceived as a contemporary, volumetric version of a stroll garden. The open-air Fine Arts Museum is situated below ground level to keep the view from the adjacent Botanical Gardens towards the Higashiyama mountains intact.

The Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum exterior facade
October 16, 2002 /

Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum
Tadao Ando
Naoshima Island, Japan

The Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum is located on the southern edge of Naoshima island between a high hill covered with deep woods and a promontory of rugged rocks and beach.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth by Tadao Ando in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Exterior view.
Photo David Woo courtesy Tadao Ando Architect & Associates
May 13, 2002 /

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Tadao Ando
Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Massive planar walls of architectural concrete boldly express the Modern's basic structure while protecting the collection within.

Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum exterior
February 08, 2000 /

Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum
Tadao Ando
Osaka, Japan

Chikatsu-Asuka, an area in the southern part of Osaka Prefecture, has one of the best collections of tumuli (kofun) in Japan.

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