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Tadao Ando (b. 1941)

Dates of Interview:

May 25, 2001

Location of Interview:

Ando's office in Osaka, Japan


Betty J. Blum

Length of Transcript:

39 pages
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Photograph courtesy of Tadao Ando.

Biographical Summary

Tadao Ando was born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan. Self-educated as an artist and architect by reading and traveling extensively, Ando opened his own architectural office in Osaska in 1969. Best known for his serenely minimalist aesthetic--most often incorporating concrete--Ando has long been interested in the interplay of architecture, human senses, and the environment. Among his best-known works are the Azuma House and the Church of Light in Osaka and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis. Ando was elected as an honorary member to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1991 and received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995.

Interview Highlights

Ando speaks about his interest in Chicago architecture; his commission for the Japanese screen gallery at The Art Institute of Chicago; his commission for the House in Chicago; central elements in his designs; working abroad and in the United States; personal reflections on his work.

Ando Gallery, Department of Asian Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1992.
Photograph by Thomas Cinoman.

Interview Excerpt

"If I could be remembered, I would like to be remembered as an architect who courageously pursued his own ideas and ideals without being trifled with the architectural streams of time. I want my work to be able to provoke thoughts in people when they come in contact with the buildings or with the architecture. In this case, a house in which they feel that they are connected with nature, that they're living within this place which is Chicago and that inspires them to do something for themselves. I want my architecture to embody that power. For example, [in the Japanese screen gallery] I want people to feel as if the wind is passing through these columns and creates something that reminds them of something beyond physicality. Another example, [the House in Chicago], when you are in this space and look out to this outdoor space, you feel the connection between the space, you feel the depth, you feel something beyond just physical elements that are there." (pp. 24-25)

Additional Resources

Related archival materials in the R&B Archives
Works by Ando in the Department of Architecture and Design
Other related artwork

Funding for this oral history was provided by a grant from the Paul and Robert A. Barker Foundation.