awanay items | tadao ando

We are back with a new story about a unique individual. One that inspires us not only with his aesthetic but also with his admirable, deep and significant philosophy. He challenges the rules of functionality within architecture and the superficial mindset within our society. He is Tadao Ando, a rare self-taught architect born in Osaka, Japan.


As an icon of Japanese culture, Ando created his own unique, distinguishable architectural language in which he combines the design principles of Modernism with traditional Japanese influences.  His idiosyncratic design can be best described as an emotional architecture, one that is born from the duality between profoundness and rationality, the ordinary and the symbolic, simplicity and complexity, autonomy and connectivity and artifice and nature. His architecture is simple but rich. It is coherent, reasoned and logical yet emotional, profound and meaningful.

One of his most acclaimed achievements are his works in Naoshima Island in Japan, including the Chichu Art Museum, the Lee Ufan Museum and the Benesse House Museum & Hotel.  He was able to create a dialogue between people, art and the island’s natural environment – transforming it into a sacred place of art.



By breaking the boundaries between the inside and the outside, his consciousness of nature is one of the pilar foundations of his creations. He challenges these limits by preserving open spaces, letting natural light into the interiors at the right angles,  including pools of water in which the angles reflect and by implementing ventilation methods that imitate the human body. Ando uses natural but limited materiales like his own exposed concrete formula, glass and wood. In simple geometrical shapes, these coexist in harmony with nature elements such as natural light, water, wind, plants and space.


His conceptualization of minimalism can be best described as a deep minimalism. Although he does use reduced materiales and minimal forms he chooses to create profoundness with his designs.

minimalism1.jpgThis understanding of minimalism is highly related to Japanese zen philosophy. This belief is built on expressing meanings with the minimum number of elements and  pursuing silence and quietness through nature. In relation to Ando’s works, it is specifically portrayed in the creation of space atmospheres that enable people to enjoy the beauty of nature through clean, simply yet profound migratory moving experiences. This empowers the grace of silence and simplicity. 

minimalism2 copy.jpgSENSORY EXPERIENCES

As we mentioned before, besides the magnificent design of Ando’s architecture, what most captivates us are the deeps beliefs that stand behind it. There is a thoughtful concern for the experience of people and a detailed design language and philosophy that creates a poetic, silent, symbolic and sensitive aura. He essentially creates an experience that leads to a state of full awareness and consciousness.


Ando’s architecture creates sensory experiences by creating space situations. His buildings not only form an architectural entity but they are also filled with a spiritual meaning. They not only consider function, structure and appearance but also the experience of people. This includes their senses, their perception, consciousness and other spiritual levels that create meaning. Ando is the the example of how only when an space is transformed into a human emotional space, the truthful meaning of architecture is conveyed.


At AWANAY we relate to Ando’s profound conception of minimalism by which  simplicity is not bind to emptiness, banality nor insignificance. We also acclaim his holistic and natural approach to architecture where the limits of the open and closed are challenged, leading to a harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. We applaud Ando’s emphasis on the importance of transcending appearances by creating  with his designs deep sensory experiences that elevate our consciousness – specially in a world that forces us into unawareness and superficiality.


The Poetry of Light: 10 Quotes on Minimalism by Tadao Ando

Hao-Long Hsu , Yu-Li Chang , and Hsiu-Hui Lin (2015) Emotional Architecture – A Study of Tadao Ando’s Genius Loci Design Philosohpy and Design Syntax.



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