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The Concretion of Tadao Ando

Marta Peña 

This aptly titled monograph produced by the Croatian publisher Oris presents 22 works that Tadao Ando has completed in the past 15 years. Dualities – West and East, inside and outside, nature and geometry, abstraction and experimentation, history and the present – have been a constant in the career of a Japanese architect who does not avoid contradictions, but deals with them head on and unifies them, turning conflicts into tools with which to create new ideas.

The buildings featured are grouped in four sections addressing architecture’s relationship with nature, the urban question, housing, and the conception of cultural constructions. Through plans, drawings, photos, and descriptions provided by Ando’s office, they illustrate and accompany the theoretical approaches of the 1995 Pritzker laureate’s fields of reflection.

The monograph is not just a descriptive compilation of works. The foreword by the Finnish Juhani Pallasmaa, the section essays written by the Croatians Maroje Mrduljaš, Luka Skansi, and Karin Šerman, and the interview and the conclusion, where Ando himself explains the axes of his architectural thinking, give us an overview of his intellectual biography.

In our world of constant change, the stability of the conceptual approach and practice of the former boxer is important. Despite a progressive increase of formal and material experimentation, the identity of his work continues to rest essentially in strict geometric principles and the combination of concrete, nature, and light.

Reviewed books:

Transcending Oppositions

Tadao Ando’s Recent Works

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