Tadao Ando

Maria de Juan

Tadao Ando, zen to infinity.

Centre Pompidou in Paris offers a major exhibition of the living god under Nippon sun. Japanese Tadao Ando, recently had another show at Tokyo’s National Art Center. What makes him so special?

He never studied architecture and yet, is the only one who won four prestigious architect prizes: Pritzker, CarlsbergPraemium Imperialeand Kyoto.

His buildings breathe with a special aura. They are breathtaking and yet simple. The fact of being self-taught makes him impressively unique. How did a former boxer become a world leading architect?

Born in 1941 in Osaka, Ando abandoned boxing to pursue architecture without going to University.

Combining traditional Japanese influences with Modernism design, Ando developed a unique building language using wood, water, light and space, all in harmony with nature.

His minimalist, monochrome concrete buildings inspire a feeling of austerity and understated elegance.

Heavily influenced by Zen PhilosophyAndo puts heart and soul into every project.

They are truly awe-inspiring as much as his poetic landmark names: Church of Light, Water Temple…

In Tokyo, he designed Skytree, the second highest world building (2008).

He specialises in museums such as Fort Worth (Texas), Francois Pinaud (Paris), Lange Foundation (Neuss, Germany), Punta Dogana (Venice), Hyogo and Naoshima Museums (Japan)…

His work is known for a creative use of natural structures and sunlight, following natural environment forms.

Complex three-dimensional circulation paths, weaving between interior and exterior spaces, become contemplation routes.

His work has a Haiku effect and is deeply tied to Zen philosophy.

In 1995 he founded Momo-Kaki-Orphans Fund, to educate earthquake and tsunami orphans.

He believes that we are a huge family whose responsibility is to care for each other.

Tadao Ando is indeed more than a great architect. He is also a deeply concerned human being.

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