Tadao Ando: A Christmas Treat.

Christmas is now very much behind us but during the well earned break several SoAD staff took the opportunity to catch up on seeing various exhibitions. One real treat was seeing a major retrospective exhibition on acclaimed, one and only Tadao Ando (b. 1941, Osaka) the Pritzker laureate known for his masterful integration of natural elements and simple geometric volumes, and emphasis on the physical experience of space.

The sheer volume of work was mind blowing, 180 drawings, 70 original models and several slide shows depicting fifty projects by the Japanese architect. Held at the Pompidou Centre in Paris the exhibition was jam packed with long queues from early morning until closing time.

Divided into four thematic sections – The basic form of space, Urban challenge, Origins of landscape, and Dialogue with history – organised around an amazing central installation, the heart of the exhibition was entitled Naoshima, a work through which Ando creates a dialogue with the natural landscape of Naoshima Island, an island town in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea renowned for being an open-air contemporary art and architecture museum. Accompanied by his graphite drawings, travel notebooks, and photos taken by Ando himself, which have never been publicly shown to a European audience before;  we left exhausted, slightly  overwhelmed but incredibly inspired.

“Architecture involves creating places for the community. I produce my architecture by asking myself how I can create things that remain forever imprinted on people’s souls,” Ando in an interview with exhibition co-curator Frédéric Migayrou.

The memory of this exhibition will certainly remain with us for years to come.