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Tadao Ando

A black-and-white studio portrait of Ando from the shoulders up. He looks directly at the camera, wearing a white shirt and black jacket.
Irving Penn. Tadao Ando, New York, February 8, 1993, printed 1999. Gift of Irving Penn. © The Irving Penn Foundation
Also known as
Tadao Ando
Date of birth

Known for his sensitive, assured use of reinforced concrete, Japanese architect Tadao Ando produces works of architecture through the deft manipulation and framing of light, space, and water. Ando was self-taught, seeking out instruction through apprenticeships with carpenters, designers, and planners as well as independent reading and travel to visit major works by European and American architects in Japan and abroad. After establishing his practice in 1968 in his hometown of Osaka, Japan, he found success in his designs for houses—he has completed over 100 residential projects—and has since worked on increasingly large and international projects, with a special focus on public buildings including religious structures and museums

Ando realized his first American project at the Art Institute of Chicago. Completed in 1992, the Ando Gallery (Gallery 109) evokes a traditional Japanese interior with 16 free-standing wood columns in a darkened room, framing the art objects displayed in cases around the room’s perimeter in an entirely modern way. Soon after, he completed a house in Lincoln Park (1997), whose volumes in concrete appear in drawings in the Art Institute’s collection. Ando later designed the adjacent building, Wrightwood 659 (2018), a large art exhibition space converted from a 1920s multistoried apartment building. 

Ando was named the 1995 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, a prestigious award established by the Pritzker family of Chicago in 1979, among other professional accolades. In 2001, he participated in the Ryerson and Burnham Archives’ long-standing Chicago Architects Oral History Project, a transcript of which can be read here.

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