The architecture and life of Tadao Ando.Master of Modern Architecture
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- Full Bio
The Journey to Architectural Greatness
Inspired by a carpenter in his area, a fifteen-year-old non-city boy named Tadao Ando dreamed of becoming an architect, but the journey was a difficult one. As someone with neither a university degree nor professional training, it was hard for him to earn the respect of his peers.
However, he never gave up and studied architecture on his own, using his travels as a classroom and books as his textbooks. His early work Row House of Sumiyoshi earned him the spotlight of the architecture community in Japan. With a dream of building houses where the human soul can live, Tadao Ando attracted international attention with his Church of Light and Church on the Water, which he created in his architectural style of connecting nature, architecture, and man.
One day, he received an offer to rehabilitate a deserted island called Naoshima. There, he built the Chichu Art Museum and the Benesse House Museum as he transformed the deserted island into a new culture.
In the midst of a dynamic architecture career, he got unexpected news when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After surviving the surgery, he became more devoted to his work. He hopes one day to build a children’s library where books will help children see the world in new ways, just like he used books to expand his knowledge of architecture. Through this, he hopes to realize his dream of creating an Earth-centered philosophy.
Pritzker Architecture Prize, United States (1995) Mainichi Art Prize (1987) Gold Medal from the French Academy of Architecture (1989) Carlsberg Architectural Prize (1992) AIA Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (2002) UIA Gold Medal from the International Union of Architects (2005) Visiting Professor at Harvard University (1990) Professor of Architecture at Tokyo University (1997)
Tadao Ando is a self-taught master of modern architecture. One of his earlier works, Row House in Sumiyoshi, earned him critical acclaim and led to his receiving of the Annual Prize from the Architecture Institute of Japan. His museums, Christian churches, and public housing that he designed garnered him international recognition, bringing him the Pritzker Prize, which many consider the 'Nobel Prize of architecture', in 1995. He donated the $100,000 prize money to help orphans of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. His subsequent awards include the AIA Gold Medal in 2002 and the UIA Gold Medal in 2005. His successes allowed him to break through the academic elitism in architecture by becoming a professor at Harvard University and Tokyo University.
Tadao Ando has been influential to modern architecture with a style that connects nature, architecture, and man, and with his use of bare concrete. Among his major works are Row House in Sumiyoshi, Rokko Housing One, the Church of Light, the Church on the Water, and the Chichu Art Museum.
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