Tadao Ando’s Architecture

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Tadao Ando is a well-known Japanese architect born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan. He had a twin brother, and at the age of two, their parents decided to separate them making Tadao to dwell at his grandmother’s place (Tadao Ando, 2016). He labored as a boxer and a truck driver before settling into the architect, despite the fact that he had no expert training about architecture.
Church of the Light
In Ibararaki, a small town situated 25 km on the outskirts of Osaka, stands the church of the light, one of Tadao’s architectural work, which used to be completed in the year 1989 (Webb, 2014).
Form: It is made of three 5.9 m cubes made of concrete with a wall angled at 15 degrees.

Materials: The church is made of wood, concrete, metal, glass, plastic, paint, biomaterials among others.

Visual elements: According to Ando, the church represents nature’s co-existence in duality: light/darkness or solid/emptiness. These differences leave the building void, hence generating an untainted, unadorned space. Light enters in the Chapel via a cross cut on the wall made of concrete behind the altar. The vertical extension of the wall aligns perfectly with the joints, and this intersection of light and solid is meant to make people aware of the deep dissection between their secular and spiritual self.

Chapel on water

The chapel on the water, on the other hand, slopes down towards a small river and is surrounded by bushes and trees.

Concept: It creates a microcosm whereby simple masterful notions are combined, including vacuum/infinity, sacred/profane among others. (Nicholson, 2014)

Form: Two of the larger cubes act as the chapel and meets the smaller cube’s entrance with a spiral, semi-circular staircase. Guests enter the church under steel and glass cubes, and upon entering, they are struck by the surrounding trees and the pond.

Materials: Materials used to construct it were mainly concrete and glass.

In conclusion, both the church of the light and the chapel on the water are amongst the numerous desired destinations for people, especially the Japanese.


Nicholson, L. (2014, December). Museum opening of the year: Tadao Ando’s extension and Annabelle Selldorf’s refurbished galleries now display the Clark’s collection at its best. In Apollo (Vol. 180, No. 626, pp. 40-42). Apollo Magazine Ltd..

Tadao Ando. (2016). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

Webb, M. (2014). Tadao Ando at the Clark. Shadow and Light. Yale University Press.

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