Tadao Ando is often regarded as the architect who best embodies the minimalist approach, which emphasises clean lines and fundamental features. He is the only architect to have won the Pritzker Prize (1995), the Carlsberg Prize (1992), the Praemium Imperiale Prize (1996), and the Kyoto Prize (2002).  After working as a truck driver and a professional boxer for a short time, Ando began a mainly self-taught architecture education that includes apprenticeships, night classes, and trips to iconic structures all around the world. He established his office in Osaka in 1969 and immediately rose to prominence, winning the Annual Prize of the Architectural Institute of Japan in 1979 for his Azuma House.

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Tadao Ando_©Wikipedia
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Azuma House_©Wikipedia Commons

Architecture, in Ando’s opinion, is at its best when it allows people to appreciate the beauty of nature. “Architecture is not a self-contained personality. It comes into life, in my opinion, only through interaction with many elements of the environment, such as water, greenery, light, or wind,” he explained.

Tadao Ando‘s design sets the nature and soul of architecture by presenting the concept of site spirit. The purpose of creating a circumstance is to enlighten individuals and allow them to comprehend its potential meaning, thus exposing a level of consciousness. People can relate to Tadao Ando’s emotive design context, which depicts the Zen state of mind, which is defined as peaceful, remote, clear, and lyrical in conventional Japanese culture. The continuum of interior and outdoor space is a Japanese cultural tenet, and Ando pushes this ethos to new heights by combining contemporary elements. His work at Sapporo’s Makomanai Takino Cemetery, where he framed a 44-foot-tall Buddha on a lavender hill, exemplifies how he employs nature to shape people’s perceptions of the environment.

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Makomanai Takino Cemetry_©Hokkaido Magazine

By simulating wonderful and moving sentiments, Tadao Ando’s designs have heralded precise and fluid design ideas or themes, which give people a good lyrical experience in such space structures. Based on a thorough examination of spatial ideas, these designs combine modern and contemporary text meanings. In terms of space constitutions, Tadao Ando has mostly used space archetypes of various geometries. The spatial structures and ambience in the church design series are conveyed using precise theological language.

The usage of concrete is one of Tadao Ando’s central tenants. The clean, almost gleaming surface he’s able to produce with this basic material sets him apart. This, along with stark, basic walls, allows him to focus on the building’s form, which he says is what gives architecture emotional significance. Before pouring, Ando varnishes the moulds to obtain his signature concrete gloss.

Ando’s work is replete with references to water. The museum in Fort Worth is surrounded by water, which reflects the secondary objective of the design, which is equally as important to Ando as the physical structure. He may also add movement to his work by employing water and light, as well as a transient feel obtained by the way the water changes during the day.

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Church of Light_©Sira Anamwong

One of the most fundamental characteristics of the Japanese architect’s creative ideology of compositions arises with the designs of Azuma House and Koshino House, and it’s the wall. In Tadao Ando’s subsequent religious work, the notion of the wall is fully realised. The projects of Tadao Ando are largely shaped by the modern movement, particularly Le Corbusier’s artistic principles of composition, but this primary impact is also accompanied by a link to Japanese traditional architecture, which gives Tadao Ando’s works an “artisanal” quality, particularly in regard to finalising the subtleties. In the 1980s, Tadao Ando rose to global prominence after signing several ventures, including the Chapel of the Wind, the Chapel on the Water, and the Church of Light.

The fact that these three pieces are devoted to elements of nature like wind, water, and light is no happenstance. Tadao Ando combines the use of pragmatic, minimalistic shapes with the presence of organic elements in these works to emphasise the fortitude of its pure forms. The Japanese architect’s work nearly entirely incorporates exposed reinforced concrete, as well as wood, stone, and, most importantly, light. The contemplative design of Tadao Ando brings our eye to the beauty of quietude and the strength of purity. Light is used as a substance to give the project vigour, vitality, and individuality. The Church of Light is unquestionably the highest manifestation of Tadao Ando’s engagement with light as a compositional and tangible element.

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Church of Light_©Naoya Fujii

Ando’s lyrical environment encapsulates the Zen philosophy’s far-reaching clear and calm essence, allowing visitors to have a meaningful and emotional journey. It aims to portray different connotations with minimal composition components by condensing all the complicated elements, guaranteeing that the people’s experience is not harmed. The room is made up of inanimate objects, but it has vibrancy and vitality, allowing people to have mental engagement and partake in the emotive discussion.

Ando translates his design principles into a poem through the use of space, including paragraphs, phrases, and chapters, as well as natural and cultural interests based on the underlying analysis. People experience resonant sentiments and art space images by using a combination of geometric spaces that build the creative vision based on precise proportionality, scale, colour, texture, and other components. This allowed people to feel the design from the depths of their souls, as well as enjoy the cognitive harmony and insight that the building provided.


  1. Allen, K. (2018). Spotlight: Tadao Ando. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/427695/happy-birthday-tadao-ando.
  2. ‌My Modern Met. (2018). The Life and Work of Acclaimed Japanese Architect Tadao Ando. [online] Available at: https://mymodernmet.com/tadao-ando-architecture/.
  3. ‌mino_caggiula (2020). All about Tadao Ando: biography, architecture, facts | minocaggiula.ch. [online] Mino Caggiula Architects. Available at: https://www.minocaggiula.ch/en/tadao-ando/.

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