Acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando (b. 1941) bases his work on a strong personal design philosophy that joins Japanese design traditions with modern Western expression.
Born in Osaka, Japan, Ando’s interest in design began early on as an apprentice with a local carpenter at the age of 10. He learned to explore wood’s many possibilities by building model airplanes and ships. His approach to learning was unusual in that he preferred to work independently, without input from his mentors.
Ando’s interest in architecture began at the age of 15 when he purchased a book of sketches by design pioneer, Le Corbusier. Today, Ando is still inspired by Le Corbusier and often evaluates his own projects relative to the modern master’s approach. Ando’s work is also strongly inspired by Danish design culture and the minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic philosophy. His work embodies the Japanese tradition of living simply and in harmony with nature – a cornerstone of the Scandinavian lifestyle.
Frequently appearing in Ando’s projects, Hans J. Wegner’s furniture design is a source of great inspiration for the architect. Ando’s Dream Chair, produced in collaboration with Carl Hansen & Søn and informed by Wegner’s aesthetic, relies on century-long traditions of craftsmanship to fulfill his demands for perfection.
Ando has been responsible for over 150 construction projects of various sizes in Japan and internationally, including the Azum building in Osaka, Chichu Art Museum in
Naoshima, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, and the Teatro Armani in Milan.
His original works have earned him a number of prestigious awards, including the Carlsberg Prize in 1992, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, the Premium Imperiale Award in 1996, and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in 1997.
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