Results tagged “Tadao Ando” from kwc blog

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art  - Tadao Ando - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art  - Tadao Ando - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art Photos

The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art was a pleasant surprise. From the photos I had seen of the exterior, it wasn't high on my list of places to visit. It's rock fascade and bulky shape reminded me of the bulky and squat Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis, which I haven't seen in person. But on approach, the Hyogo museum has plenty to offer. A pedestrian bridge offers you several approaches into the building: to the front, to a ramp that goes to the waterside entrance, and to the third-floor plaza.

The waterside entrance faces an industrial inlet of Osaka Bay and is the the bookend of a waterfront park that Ando also designed. The part is utilitarian and spare, but serves its purpose as a place for kids to play games and for people to have space to walk. It also has an amphitheater, a popular Ando construct. The waterside entrance itself features a very broad set of stairs. It's easy to imagine large swarms of people having a seat on these stairs and chatting, but on a weekday during work hours it was nearly vacant.

The museum is built around three nearly identical sections. The center of each section is a stairway, though each stairway is different. The first is a four-story tall atrium with stairs leading up the side and a giant celadon column in the middle. The second is just two stories tall, with a shorter celadon column off to the side, and the third, I don't know. It was close to closing time and the third required a ticket, so I opted to save something for another time.

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art Photos

More Tadao Ando:

Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai Part II

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Awaji Yumebutai - Tadao Ando - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Awaji Yumebutai - Tadao Ando - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Awaji Yumebutai - Tadao Ando - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click for more Awaji Yumebutai Photos (Part II)

Awaji Yumebutai Part I

The Yumebutai complex is sprawling with a variety of buildings and elements throughout, but one common signature that forms a distinctive pattern throughout is the use of scallop seashells. There is a lower Shell Garden area dedicated solely to the use of these shells to line large shallow pools of water and the Yumebutai literature boasts over 1 million such shells and 1,000 fountains.

Ando initially had trouble finding the shells as he discovered that restaurants imported the scallops without the shells, but he was able to finally track some down. It seems that they may have been conserving water that day as many of the pools were not filled that day and many fountains were not on. As striking as that many seashells is, there is not enough contrast on a cloudy day for them to keep my attention.

The Oval and Circular Forums tie the lower Shell Garden to the upper Hyakudanen botanical gardens. One common theme I've found in many of Ando's designs is the use of depth to create drama. Often you'll approach a low, flat building, only to discover stairs plunging downwards several stories. In the case of the Oval and Circular Forums, you find yourself staring down several large stories to the plaza below. The concrete, perpendicular walls enhance the sense of height.

Tacked onto the very end of the Yumebutai complex is an amphitheater. Semi-circle amphitheaters seem to be a common element of many of Ando's projects, which is most likely due to the influence of classical Roman architecture on his work. I've seen amphitheaters at his Aomori Contemporary Art Center, the park adjacent to the Hyogo Prefectural Art Museum, and here at Yumebutai. As some are tucked away, perhaps there are more that I have not noticed.

Photos: Awaji Yumebutai Part II

More Tadao Ando:

Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai Part I

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Awaji Yumebutai - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Awaji Yumebutai - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click for more photos of the Awaji Yumebutai Botanical Gardens

Awaji Yumebutai is a sprawling complex of buildings by Tadao Ando. It was originally meant to be a golf course built on the site of a former land quarry used to provide earth for the Kansai airport. Ando helped convince the prefecture to purchase the surrounding land (100 hectares) and turn it into a park. Somewhere in the development process that all got changed, and instead of a golf course and park, it ended up as a hotel, conference center, and gardens. At first they were worried that it would be difficult to get people to stay in such a remote spot, but a visit by David Beckham secured them future bookings and taught Ando the power of celebrity.

Attached to a Hilton hotel, the complex includes both indoor and outdoor gardens, a conference center, tea ceremony building, fancy restaurants, and a small amphitheater. Each building has it's own distinct geometric shape, lending itself to an easy iconography that I wished I snapped some photos of. The complex is so sprawling that, even after a couple of hours, there was still much to see. Unfortunately I could not stay longer, but I wanted to leave a little left unexplored so that I might have a reason to come back (when the weather was better).

The Hyakudanen botanical gardens are the star of the complex, in my opinion. While there are some interesting spots in the complex to visit, much of it seems filler in comparison. The gardens were designed as a memorial to those who died in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in the Kobe area. They are a like a giant Q-bert style grid of square flower boxes connected by stairs. An elevator helps you get half-way up the grid, but for the rest it's up to your own fitness as to how many stairs you wish to go up and down.

I'll have more photos of my visit from the rest of the complex in a later entry.

Update: Awaji Yumebutai Part II

Photo Gallery: Awaji Yumebutai Botanical Gardens

More Tadao Ando:

honpukuji - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more Water Temple Photos

The Kobe region has many works by Tadao Ando, including several of my favorites. Water Temple (Shingonshu Honpukuji) is at the top of that list. It is a small and simple work, and perhaps that's why it rates so highly with me. The building holds up an elliptical pond filled with lily pads. Concrete walls fan out behind the pond to form a flower-like enclosure for the space and create a transition path as you enter the complex.

You descend down stairs through the center of the pond and enter the temple itself. At first you are cast into darkness as you walk into a circular hallway, but as you approach the shrine area, more daylight is able to pierce through and bounce off the walls to create a red glow. As you exit back out of the space, the circular hallway leads you into increasing daylight until you return back to the starting point.

Honpukuji is not too difficult to get to. I took a JR bus from Sannomiya station in Kobe to Awaji Yumebutai (bus stop 5 at Sannomiya, purchase tickets inside, 45-minute ride). There is a local bus that runs from Yumebutai to Honpukuji, but I opted to walk as the local bus is not very frequent. I turned right on the main road leaving Yumebutai, walked about 20 minutes, and turned right on the road where the police box was (Koban). From there, it's about a 5 minute walk up the hill.

The JR bus was full leaving Yumebutai, so I took a local bus to Maiko station instead. From there I was able to catch a JR train back to Kobe.

Click here for more Water Temple Photos

I'm on a Train

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Bullet train-5

Bullet train-2

Bullet train-6

... well, soon enough. My time in Kobe, Japan is nearly up. Next stop, Tokyo. We're taking a bullet train out of here tomorrow night. These are some photos from my bullet train trip into Kobe. There hasn't been much sightseeing, though I did manage to squeeze in quick trips to four Tadao Ando sites: Rokko, Hyoto Prefectural Art Museum, Water Temple, and Awaji-Yumebutai. Beautiful stuff, though the grey skies today mean I have a reason to come back. I also managed to glimpse (from a bus) Frank Gehry's ridiculous Fishdance restaurant, which is only one step away from Weinermobile.

Getting to Ando's Church on the Water

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Before my most recent trip to Japan I debated whether or not it would be possible to make it to Ando's Church on the Water. My Google skills failed me and my unfamiliarity with that part of Japan deterred me from attempting to make it to the site. Thankfully, ellen's attic has shared with me the crucial details of how to get there:

Church on the Water is located inside Alpha Resort Tomamu, the hotel provide free pick-up service at Tomamu JR station or you can simply walk for around 30 minutes. Room rate is reasonable, 12,000 yen for twin per night. Taking the fastest JR express train from Sapporo to Tomamu will take you around 82 minutes, 58 minutes from Chitose airport to Tomamu.

If you are lucky, you can visit the Chapel on the water in one day with permission. However, the church will be blocked for wedding or special event sometimes, then you have to reschedule your visit time.

which means that it's an easy day trip from Sapporo Japan, but you should plan ahead. Thanks Ellen!

Web site: http://www.waterchapel.jp/

Omotesando Hills, Tadao Ando, Tokyo, 2005

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Omotesando Hills is one of Omotesando's latest forays into the world of luxury-eccentric architecture for retail shops (e.g. Herzog and de Meuron's Prada Building). It occupies a long stretch of Omotesando, partly obscured by trees, and with only a few retails shop on the outside. The repeating glass panels on the external facade aren't very exciting, though they are dressed up at night with a light display that emulates silhouettes of people's legs walking (video). There is also a small stream of water that flow adjacent to the building and flows along the slope of the street. One consequence of the sloped street is that the retail shops on the outside gradually climb up the facade of the building as you walk alongside.

Omotesando Hills - Ando Omotesando Hills - Ando Omotesando Hills - Ando Omotesando Hills - Ando

Ando connects the interior to the outside by echoing these external design elements: walking, slope, trees, and water. A odd speaker stick fills the mall with ambient water noises, flowing silhouettes of leaves are projected onto the floor, and images of stick-figure people walking adorn many of the walls. Slope is the connecting design of the interior in the form of continuously ascending ramps set around a thin triangular perimeter. The ramps create a series of convergence lines at the apex that are fun to photograph, though I must admit they aren't quite as impressive in person. A long stairway fills the apex of the triangle while escalators occupy the base. They, too, are fun to photograph.

Omotesando Hills - Ando Omotesando Hills - Ando

Omotesando Hills - AndoNothing can change the fact that the interior is ultimately a mall. Retail shops line the outside perimeter, though there position is made slightly more difficult because of the continuous slope. Like Ando's Collezione down the street, Omotesando Hills has a difficult problem: it's hard to transcend the nature of a shopping complex, even if you throw water and trees at it.

Not all have appreciated the new mall. Many of the rants I've read against it center on the fact it replaced the old Dojunkai Apartments. And by old, I mean 1927 old. Although there seems to be general agreement that the apartments were dilapated, some saw the apartments as a sign of an old cultural past of Omotesando that should be preserved. I only have the perspective of someone who has seen the new and I remain neutral: Ando's building fits in with the current luxury eccentric character and could even be called tame in comparison, but it is difficult to be enamored of a mall.

Ometesando Hills photos

Updated Ando entry

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With the help and permission of Flickr users, I've been able to updated my old Talk: Tadao Ando entry with new photos. Back when I wrote the original entry, there weren't too many Ando photos on Flickr, so I was mostly left with low-quality scans that I found scattered on the 'Net. I also hadn't seen any Ando buildings in person.

A couple of days ago John Weiss left a comment to mention that he had used some of the text of the talk to document his photo of Ando's Times Building. After seeing his high-quality photo and seeing how many other high-quality Ando photos that are now on Flickr, I decided it was a good time for a revisit. The advantages of the Flickr photos are two-fold: they are of better quality and they usually come in sets. I've also been to four of Ando's sites now, which gave me more material to contribute.

Thanks John Weiss, stella/smine/bakoko/ellen's attic/SkylineGTR/Brandon Shigeta!

Talk: Tadao Ando entry

Collezione, Tadao Ando, Tokyo, 1989

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Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-10 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-09

Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-04 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-03

Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-22 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-23

Tadao Ando - Collezione - Tokyom and I explored Tadao Ando's Collezione building late one night in Tokyo. After one wanders to the far end of Omotesando, past the Prada Building and many other similar bauble-ly buildings, you stumble across the almost non-descript Collezione building -- you might even find yourself turning back before you even reach it.

It was nice to explore the building with no one else but me and m around -- it certainly made the photography easier. It is overpowered by the rest of the high-priced Omotesando shops and in isolation is lacking some of the natural elements that I enjoy in Ando's work. Nevertheless, the combination of a circular core and rectilinear surrounding structures made for some fun exploring.

I included both color and B&W comparisons above. One archetypal style of Ando building photos is high contrast B&W to show off the concrete, but I also wanted to document how the building is actually lit up. I'm no longer sure how accurate the color photos are, though, as the different types of lighting played havoc with my camera and I took these photos over a half a year ago.
Tadao Ando - Collezione - Tokyo

Collezione - Tadao Ando - Photoset (31 photos)

Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-30 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-16 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-17 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-15 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-13 Collezione - Tadao Ando - Tokyo-11

Link roundup

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Talk: Tadao Ando

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Tadao Ando, Aomori Contemporary Art Centerd and I managed to sneak into an Ando talk at Berkeley, tiptoeing in through the sidedoor and sitting on the floor when the lights went out because all seats were gone over an hour before the talk started. I am thankful for the location of the Men's Room at Dwinelle Hall; I might not have noticed the unguarded entrance otherwise (easy to spot, given that ten-or-so people were already waiting there to sneak in).

photo: Ando's Aomori Contemporary Art Center. Photo by kwc

I really enjoy Tadao Ando's work. I'm not a fan of his most noted signature element -- concrete -- but I love the simplicity of his forms and the ways in which his buildings play with light. This talk gave a fuller survey of some of his works over the past decades, and also gave a lot of insight into his amusingly persistent mentality that guides his projects.

My notes are in the extended entry. There are a lot of large photos of his works that I've culled of the Internet to go with some of the talk notes, so the notes may load very slowly. It took a little longer than normal to put these notes together, but it was worth it, as I now have my own mini-Ando book to browse through and reflect upon.