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Tadao Ando, born in 1941 is one of the most renowned

contemporary Japanese architects. A self-taught architect, Ando wandered
the streets and back alleys of the United States, Europe, Africa, and his native Japan,
studying places and spaces for seven years prior to dedicating himself to his chosen
If there could be an architect who has surpassed such different genres of
ideological proportions , it has got to be Tadao Ando .


Space and light are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or
a place to sleep ' Le Corbusier once proclaimed . Tadao Ando strongly believed in the
play of light and spatial interest and understands how these elements are essences of
architecture. He began to be interested in architecture by recopyingsome of Le
Corbusier 's drawings at a used bookstore when he was fifteen . He was starting to
develop his own language of architecture by a unique method , self-taught and travelled
extensively . As Philip Jodidio said, although the influence on Ando of Le Corbusier and
others such as Louis Kahn is often cited , his early projects are already very much a
personal creation.


Ando believes that architecture should not speak too much . It should remain
silent and let nature in the guise of sunlight and wind speak Sunlight changes quality
with the passage of time . It may gently pervade space at one moment , and stab
through it like a blade at the next . At the same time it is almost as if one could reach
out and touch the light ' With this be said , he uses these elements to create architecture
in to enrich user experiences , which he considered a dialogue with human sensibility
more that as functional shelters.

Characteristics of his work include large expanses of unadorned architectural
concrete walls combined with wooden or stone floors and large windows. Active natural
elements, like sun, rain, and wind are a distinctive inclusion to his style.

Andos three decades of architectural work have left an impression on the world
of architecture. Tadao Andos constancy of form gives his work merit and timeless
appeal. It is possible to extract an underlying essence in all of his work.

What is striking about Tadao Andos Designs is their clean line, and sheer
simplicity. Simple geometric forms have characterized his work over the past three
decades. Ando orchestrates masses and voids, choreographing their interaction with
trademark Tadao Ando precision. The structure is firm, tranquil, and even a bit
mysterious. There are no irrelevant ornaments or embellishments to distract the eye of
the inhabitant. Stripped to the bare essentials of shape and volume,
a building must be exceptionally well-conceived to be successful. The materiality of his
works is of great importance.

Working with smooth-as-silk concrete, Ando creates spaces using walls which he
defines as the most basic elements of architecture, but also the most enriching. In spite
of his consistent use of materials and the elements of pillar, wall and vault, his various
combinations of these elements constantly prove exhilarating and dynamic. His design
concepts and materials have a crucial role in the aesthetics of his work. The smooth
tactility of the cast in place concrete combined with the thin, fragile transparency of
glass and the ruggedness of steel complete his palette from which he paints.

Honesty of materials is what sets Ando apart from many architects. He does not
veneer, rather he uses the brutal beauty of concrete formwork to texture his buildings,
inside and out. Tadao Andos articulation of space is phenomenal. The circulation of his
buildings is complementary to his design. As you enter one of Andos buildings, you
discover spaces that are complex and rich. Ando has a great ability to trap light and
hold light and make it a tangible substance in a space. Light is a dramatic, soothing
element in Andos buildings. Most architects are not as interested in shape as
Ando. He naturally, is always planning for the perfect widths, heights, etc. Proportion is
an element he does not leave to convention.


Among many awards he has received, the most significant ones are the following:

Gold Medal of Architecture, Academie d'Architecture (French Academy of Architecture)
in 1989
The Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995
Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in
Gold Medal of Union Internationale des Architectes in 2005.
Ando is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the American
Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He was
also a visiting professor at Yale, Columbia, UC Barkley, and Harvard Universities.