Tadao Ando (1941), though self-taught, is acknowledged as one of the most important Japanese architects and one of the greatest representatives of the minimalist current in contemporary architecture.
After numerous formative voyages all over the world, in 1969 he opened his own studio, with which he was to work on a great number of projects.
He also taught at the University of Tokyo and has lectured at Yale, Harvard and Columbia Universities.
He built his first construction in 1973, a single-family home (the Tomishima home). It was the first of a series of homes with similar features, the most important of which is the Azuma home in Osaka (1976), which won awards in Japan and earned Ando international renown.
The 65 square metre home’s bare, simple spaces isolated between wooden townhouses represent “the negation of a clear boundary between the courtyard space and the interior, picked up from Japanese house-building traditions” (Baglione).
Moreover, the little home reveals a number of recurrent elements in Ando’s work: the light effects, the importance (including material importance) of the walls and dividing spaces, the “relationship between pure geometry and natural elements”.
The latter aspect is above all evident in the Rokko I and II housing developments (built between 1978 and 1993), in which Ando makes use of the natural slope of Mount Rokko to build homes with views over Osaka Bay.
His production also includes places of worship (the Church of Light in Ibaraki, 1989; the Chapel on the Water in Tomamu, 1991) and shopping centres (in Kyoto and Tokyo). The geometric rigour with which he expresses “the evocative spatial features of a typically Japanese interior world” brings him to construct exhibition centres and trade fair pavilions, research centres (including the Benetton “Fabrica” in Villorba) and, above all, a series of museums, including the Wood Museum (Hyogo, 1994), the Museum of Gojyo Culture (Gojyo, 1995), and the Modern Art Museum (Kobe, 2001). He restored Palazzo Grassi (2005) and the Contemporary Art Centre (Punta della Dogana, 2009) in Venice.
He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1995.
Tadao Ando selected works and projects
- Restauro Punta della Dogana - Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Venezia (Italia), 2009
- Ampliamento Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (USA), 2002
- Show Room Armani, Milano (Italia), 2001
- Awaji-Yumebutai, Hyogo (Giappone) 2000
- Fabrica, centro di ricerca Benetton, Villorba (Italia), 2000
- Museo Daylight, Shiga (Giappone), 1998
- Museo della cultura, Gojyo (Giappone), 1995
- Museo del legno, Hyogo (Giappone) 1994
- Museo Suntory, Osaka (Giappone), 1994
- Ampliamento del Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Naoshima (Giappone), 1994
- Sede seminari Vitra, Weil am Rhein (Germania), 1993
- Padiglione giapponese, Esposizione Universale di Siviglia (Spagna), 1992
- Museo delle Tombe, Kunamoto (Giappone), 1992
- Tempio dell’Acqua, Awajishima (Giappone), 1991
- Museo della Letteratura, Himeji (Giappone), 1991
- Museo dei Bambini, Himeji (Giappone), 1989
- Centro Commerciale Collezione, Tokyo (Giappone), 1989
- Chiesa della Luce, Ibaraki, Osaka (Giappone), 1989
- Cappella sull’Acqua, Tomamu (Giappone), 1988
- Cappella sul Monte, Rokko (Giappone), 1986
- Complesso residenziale Rokko I, 1983
- Abitazioni ad Osaka, Ashiya, Tokyo (Giappone), 1973-1986