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Tadao Ando

Magazine Architecture | 23 Nov 2018



Tadao Ando was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1941, and is one of the most acknowledged architects of the XXI century. With a career that was already productive in professional boxing, Tadao fell in love with the discipline of architecture when, in 1958, he saw the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Later on, he bought a Corbusier’s sketch collection and fell in love all over again. Tadao was sure that architecture was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Ando travelled the world searching for knowledge, leaving behind professional boxing. Just like Corbusier – one of his greatest references – the Japanese architect always believed that physical and personal experience, from his travels and the closeness with construction sites, would lead to a greater learning, and much more useful than if he attended college – “to truly understand architecture, you must experience space with your own five senses. However, travel is not only accomplished through physical migration. Recollection or even daydreaming can also be a means of travel” (Ando, 2012, p.14). He went to Moscow in the trans-Siberian train, he wandered through the United States and Africa. It was his Grand Tour, as Tadao describes it himself. In 1965 he travelled Europe by boat. He was raised surrounded by the ancient architecture of the Kansai region, in one of the traditional shitamachi (the working class’ neighbourhoods in Osaka) and was incredibly eager to appreciate the architecture that was made outside Japan – “I was full of anxiety, but I could not hold back the desire to see Western architecture with my own eyes” (Ando, 2012, p.18). It was in 1969, when Ando got back from his travels, that the architect founded, in Osaka, his own architecture studio – Tadao Ando Architect & Associates – and designed his first project, a small house where he used concrete for the first time, since the project had a very low budget.

Featured in ROOF 17


Punta della Dogana 2009 © Shigeo Ogawa

Chichu Art Museum Naoshima 2004 © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

Benesse House Museum Naoshima 1992 © Kaori Ichikawa

Shanghai Poly Theater 2014 © Shigeo Ogawa

Roberto Garza Sada Center 2012 © Shigeo Ogawa

Church of the Light 1989 © Mitsuo Matsuoka

Tadao Ando © Kazumi Kurigami


Text: Isadora Faustino
Photography: courtesy of Centre Pompidou

Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

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