Until December 18th, the National Art Center runs the exhibition "Tadao Ando: Endeavors", a tribute to the life and work of one of the greatest Japanese architects.
Tadao Ando is greatly known for his projects in his hometown Osaka and also in Naoshima, the art island located in the Seto inland sea. If you've ever had the opportunity to visit his masterpiece, the Chichu Art Museum, you might wonder how it is possible to bury a building and still make it bright, filled with natural light. The way Ando uses an element as brutal as concrete in a light context, in harmony with the surroundings, became his trademark.
The exhibit shows a retrospect from early works up until recent projects and also gives visitors an idea about the unconventional professional path of this self-taught architect who was once a professional boxer.
Besides the more than 200 models, photographs, sketches, and drawings on display, the exhibit offers visitors the experience of stepping into one of his works. Especially for the occasion, Ando created a full-scale replica of Church of Light, a church made of concrete which was completed in Osaka in 1989.
Another highlight is the video installation that presents his works in Naoshima. The sequence of images displayed in a triptyque follows nicely the pace set by the soundtrack composed by the Japanese instrumental trio, Mouse on the Keys, creating an emotional tone to the section.
If the crowd of visitors allows, reading the interviews made with people that live in houses designed by Ando is also highly recommended. Considering that the architect prioritizes the relation between the building, the environment, and nature, some of the projects don't seem to fit the idea of a protected nest. Clients claim they had a hard time until they got used to inhabiting a place that gets freezing cold during the winter, or that has four floors and no elevators. The dweller of Row House, a concrete structure that has an open-air courtyard connecting the rooms, reveals that although he had to endure living there, the experience was never boring.