Tadao Ando. The Spiritual Material
Tadao Ando. Spiritual Matter (Osaka, Japan, 1941) has been one of today’s most well-known and influential contemporary architects. Along with two or three other names, they have defined the how and the expressiveness of architecture as we currently conceive it. Perhaps with Sir N. Foster, Mr. Ghery or Mr. Koolhas, they have given transcendence to the current constructions.
Perhaps where we can see more similarities is with the works of Koolhas. And it is through the use of matter as the main vector of spirituality or feelings. On other occasions, the buildings and their concepts are defined more by a concept of use as in the case of the BIG study or by light characteristics, etc., But Tadao Ando is an atypical architect, with a unique and personal personality.
Works that define him are the Azuma House (Row House) (Osaka, 1976), the Rokko Residential Complex (Kobe, 1983-1999), the Church on the Water (Hokkaido, 1988), the Church of Light (Osaka, 1989). ), the Japanese Pavilion (Expo Sevilla, 1992), the Factory (Benetton, Treviso, Italy) and the House 4 × 4 (Kobe, 2003-04).
One of the aspects that make Mr. Ando is his formation. On the contrary that the great majority of architects and designers, its formation is autodidact, own. The basis of their knowledge is based on experience, not on regulated studies. A kind of contemporary Jean Prouve, where the trade is above the title or the theory.
Ando is formed since childhood. As a child he frequented, in his neighborhood of Osaka, a carpentry workshop and a glass workshop. Between 1960 and 1964, he shares his work as an interior and furniture designer, with the study and analysis of traditional temples and tea houses in Kyoto and Osaka.
But the main element of his training are the trips he made between 1965 to 1969, in which he travels throughout Europe and India. Strongly convinced in a life of effort and self-improvement, he understands spirituality and buildings as a whole, a balance between scales. Converging the immensity of the materials and the sizes with the man and his humility before what surrounds him.
Ando formally recognizes a double influence that of traditional Japanese architecture and the Modern Movement and the European Ethyl.
In the case of traditional Japanese architecture, the houses in his own neighborhood of Osaka and traditional Japanese temples serve as inspiration. From contemporary architecture the work of Le Corbusier, Mies, Kahn, Scandinavian modernism … To this we can add the influence of brutalism and minimalism.
These “European” elements are observed in their approach to simple materials, such as concrete. Working it and elevating the result to work of art. Tearing the feeling from the raw stuff.
The architecture, the interiors and the furniture of Ando, will depart from some defined and very own characteristics. If we had to define his work in a few words we would say that it is simple, solid and delicate. Its buildings start from simple geometric shapes, combine forms and materials of modern architecture with elements of traditional Japanese architecture.
Use natural materials in the parts of the building that have direct contact with people. It gives importance to the artisanal and to the elements of nature (basically to light, water and sky) that it integrates as basic elements of his work. Use the smooth concrete (leaving visible the marks of the formwork) as an element to create tectonic walls that capture light. It involves an evolution of matter to become part of the physical senses and be a transmitter of beauty and meaning.