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Tadao Ando, the self-taught japanese master

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Although self-taught, Tadao Ando (1941) is recognized as one of the leading Japanese architects and among the finest exponents of the minimalist approach in contemporary architecture.

Following numerous educational trips across all continents, he opened his own studio in 1969, with which he would work on a vast number of projects.

He also taught at the University of Tokyo and lectured at Yale, Harvard and Columbia Universities.

The strictly geometric lines with which he expresses “the evocative spatial features of a typically Japanese interior” leads him to create exhibition centers, trade fair halls, research centers (including Benetton’s “Fabrica” at Villorba) and most importantly a series of museums, including the Museum of Wood (Hyogo, 1994), Museum of Culture (Gojo, 1995), and Museum of Modern Art (Kobe, 2001). Other notable projects are the restoration of Palazzo Grassi (2005) and Contemporary Art Center (Punta della Dogana, 2009) in Venice.

The artist in Ando is particularly reflected in the numerous art museums and cultural centers that feature prominently in his recent work.

These include the Roberto Garza Sada Center for Art Architecture and Design in Monterrey (Mexico, 2012), Ando’s first project in Latin America, designed as a six-storey concrete block. The imposing building, which houses studios and meeting rooms for various creative disciplines (visual and digital arts, photography and textile workshops), has an enormous triangular span at its center, at ground level, vaguely inspired by Japanese “torii” and symbolic of openness and welcome. This void is in deliberately contrast to the overall structure which appears closed off from the outside except for small rows of windows on the side. Inside, by expertly alternating solid and void, numerous highly evocative light-filled open spaces are created for meetings and teaching. The building quite clearly has a certain monumentality which nonetheless naturally combines ease of use with the versatility of the various areas.

Tadao Ando's vision and accurate use of geometric lines and concrete works are endless sources of inspiration for us at kiklos architects.

Tadao Ando's official website:



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