Concrete Masterpieces By The Master!

Tadao Ando, a master Architect of the century set an example for the generations to come with his philosophy stating simple, minimal and natural. His buildings fit perfectly in their surroundings and reflect a strong yet natural aesthetic.

To understand the philosophy of his designs, one needs to understand how the relationship between human senses and nature reflects in building design. His designs interact with nature using elements from nature and create sensorial journeys around nature! Tadao Ando Architecture defines a statement- a modern and minimal style of design in its most fundamental forms.  

The Pritzker award-winning Architect built his style mostly around concrete by perfectly balancing the mass and angles. It feels like every single corner is telling a story of its conception! To understand the attention to detail, here are some concrete miracles by the master.

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  1. Church of the light

Year of completion: 1989

Location: Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan

Architecture should tell a story. A hundred times heard though a few times experienced! This extraordinary structure by Ando will religiously make one aware of their existence in these premises. It is minimal, made in concrete and there is a play of light and shadow, throughout the contrasting climates while allowing nature to play its role in all the sense.

Walking down a narrow pathway towards a huge wall blocking the view of the structure, allowing one to enter through a small slit door increases the curiosity. The close relationship between this structure and nature is evident as the holy place sits at the edge of a water body.

  1. Osaka Prefectural Sayamaike Museum

Year of completion: 2001

Location: Osaka, Japan

The museum is built around an important reservoir in the region, wrapping it with the humble concrete interface to encompass a picturesque display of excavated remains around the site.

The museum consists of three main built volumes- two cuboids in varying volumes and a circular connecting mass. One of the main features of these spaces is the running water over the exposed concrete walls, creating a silent melody inside the huge space.

  1. Water Temple

Year of completion: 1991

Location: Awaji Island, Japan

One of the most striking qualities of Tadao Ando’s buildings is the reflection of traditional Japanese architecture and its elements. The Water temple consists of a beautiful trail towards a small worship zone with water all around, giving a sense of calmness. The journey along the submerging stairway towards the statue of Buddha is symbolic and the placement of the curved walls to enclose the holy place completes the journey with a full circle!

  1. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art

Year of completion: 2002

Location: Hyogo, Japan

The museum is built in contrast to most Ando’s minimal and subtle designs as it reflects iconic, strong and bulky elements to its exteriors. To balance its massive scale, there is repetitive use of grooves on its concrete facades and glass panels though the material palette remains very minimal.

The most astonishing feature of this campus still remains the concrete staircase spiraling down, cutting through the solid mass of the campus.


  1. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Year of completion: 2002

Location: Fort Worth, USA

A minimal color palette, incorporation of environment and simple planning make this place one of the best examples of modern architecture. There is a dash of every element including glass, metal, and concrete in coordination with its adjacent natural setting.

There are five individual volumes, similar in their appearance creating a floating effect over the water body around it.

The use of concrete and glasswork is beautifully done around the lush green landscape and reflects into the still water making the museum a work of art in itself!

Some notable projects by Tadao Ando also include Awaji-Yumebutai complex, 21-21 Design Sight, A row house in Sumiyoshi, Nagaragawa Convention Center and many more. It takes a vision and dedication towards creating a remarkable style of designing the buildings around the world and Tadao Ando has earned the name of the master.

One of the morals to take from the stories that his buildings tell is that Architecture is for people. It revolves around people and gets them closer to nature!

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Ankita Shimpi is an Architect and takes interest in Art, Design and Content Writing. She believes in Exploring and Understanding various aspects of Architecture and technology. Now, being a content writer with, she aspires to share her research and knowledge ranging from Architectural theory, history, technologies and Building materials with all of you!

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