95 TADAO ANDO – Materializing Spirituality



By Rana habibi

Born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan, Tadao Ando is one of the world’s most celebrated architects. Ando is a self-taught architect who became fascinated by architecture during his first over-land journey from Japan to the West, traveling through different places such as Ivory Coast, Cape Town, Madagascar and India. While he learned much from his contemporaries, including Le Corbusier and Frank LIoyd Wright, travel was his main Master in architecture. Visiting diverse and somehow antithetical territories brought the young Ando closest to the meaning of life and the sense of “place” in architecture.
Japanese traditional architecture is also a profound source of inspiration for Ando. Through traditional architecture, he found the importance of natural materials, sensitively used, to create the sense of beauty in built space.
Ando’s search for the meaning of life brought him to create a meaningful architecture —a qualified place for being. Among his worldwide and diverse projects, his spiritual buildings are more representative of Ando’s philosophy of life.
In these projects, for example, The Water Temple (1990—Hyogo, Japan), The Church of the Light (1999—Osaka, Japan), and the Hill of the Buddha (2015—Sapporo, Japan)—Ando created modern sacred spaces for 21st-century citizens by constantly searching for the hidden balance between human, nature and the sense of place.

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