Boxer-turned-Architect Tadao Ando won the Pritzker Prize in 1995. While he is among The Greats for several reasons, one that sets him apart from most is that he took no formal training in Architecture. Instead, after getting inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright Building, he decided to teach himself through classes, travel, and experience.
There is never a predictable moment as one moves through his buildings. He refuses to be bound by convention. Originality is his medium and his personal view of the world is his source of inspiration.
Pritzker Jury 1995
Location: Osaka, Japan
It consists of a rectangular volume of three cubes punctured by a wall at a 15-degree angle that never actually touches the other walls or ceiling of the chapel. It is an architecture of duality – the dual nature of existence. The cruciform cut on the eastern wall allows light to enter the darkness induced by the use of concrete.
The church designed by Tadao Ando is a remarkable example in the architecture of minimalism creating a humble abode of peace and tranquillity. The use of concrete and the effect of light is so well thought that it stimulates the user to forget the outside world, giving a sense of oneness within the society.
Location: Sumiyoshi, Osaka, Japan
Location: Tomamu, Hokkaido, Japan
Location: Rokko, Japan
The site was at a slope of 60 degrees, at the edge of the Rokko Mountains in Kobe. The idea was creating and strengthening the relationship between natural, public and private spaces.
The first-phase complex is a 3D grid with 20 apartment units that step back on the hillside, using the roofs of lower levels as terraces.
The second complex based on the vertical overlapping of square grids has created unexpected views. Three types of gardens respectively private, communal and public are provided to generate various communal relationships.
The third phase is a large project with the communal spaces between buildings designed as crisscrossing plazas.
5. Japanese Pavilion for EXPO 92
Location: Ashiya-shi, Japan
The pavilion aimed to acquaint people in the rest of the world with the traditional aesthetics of Japan based on unadorned simplicity, by reinterpreting wood architecture with leading-edge contemporary technology and create a building that embodied tradition and modernity, technology and culture. This pavilion was designed by Tadao Ando and constructed with materials, skills and workmen gathered from the United States, Europe, and Africa.
Location: Seville, Japan
The Koshino house designed by Tadao Ando consists of two parallel rectangular concrete boxes connected by a tunnel under the exterior staircase. The boldly curved study area was a later addition further complementing the space.
The house is such manifested that it does not hinder the existing natural setting as it is partially buried in the ground and has a commendable play of lights and shadows through various apertures in the walls and ceilings to create “architectural landscape” as he puts it.
7. Chikatsu Asuka Museum, Japan
Location: Osaka Prefecture, Japan
8. The Nagaragawa Convention Center, Japan
Type: Convention Centre
Location: Gifu, Japan
Type: Art Museum
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, US
It is the institution that calls itself “a sanctuary for the ever-evolving experience of art”. Through carefully composed windows and a central water court, the building is suffused with natural light, inviting the outside world into dialogue with art and architecture.
It was built in 2001 and later additions in the form of galleries in the building’s lower level, are overlooking and looping the signature water feature to improve visitor movement, were done in 2015. The use of Concrete and wood is more prevalent, giving the new galleries the calmness and serenity Ando was striving for.
Type: Art Museum
Location: Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan