TADAO ANDŌ, ar­chi­tect “ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES"

Bulletin - - Contents -

“What drives your work?” – “One of the most sig­nif­i­cant de­ci­sions in my life was not to al­low the lim­i­ta­tions of my en­vi­ron­ment and back­ground to hold me back. I see life as con­sist­ing of a se­ries of walls, with more and more ef­fort re­quired to tear down each one.”

“Can you elab­o­rate on that?” – “I grew up in a work­ing-class dis­trict of Osaka, Ja­pan, with lit­tle ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion or art. Be­fore I be­came an ar­chi­tect, I was a pro­fes­sional boxer. Although I didn’t have the chance to study at a uni­ver­sity, I had the de­ter­mi­na­tion nec­es­sary to roll with the punches and fought to ed­u­cate my­self. It was dif­fi­cult, but I chose to view my sit­u­a­tion not as a dis­ad­van­tage, but as a source of mo­ti­va­tion. That is still my attitude.”

“Where do you find your in­spi­ra­tion?” – “When I was a child, I would oc­ca­sion­ally walk past con­struc­tion sites. Some­times the work­ers would skip lunch in their ef­fort to make sure that the build­ing was con­structed to the very high­est stan­dards. I’m con­tin­u­ally in­spired by this kind of com­mit­ment, es­pe­cially when it comes to new projects. Over the years, I have al­ways pushed my­self to de­sign en­tirely new kinds of build­ings. They in­clude the Church of Light in Osaka [see photo on p.65], the Row House in Su­miyoshi, the Rokko Apart­ment Com­plex in Kobe, the artis­tic sites on Naoshima Is­land, the Punta della Do­gana mu­seum in Venice and the Bourse de Com­merce in Paris.”

Tadao Andō, 76, is one of the world’s most im­por­tant ar­chi­tects. His work is known for its min­i­mal­ist aes­thetic. Andō won the Pritzker Prize, ar­chi­tec­ture’s high­est honor, in 1995. He has taught at a num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties and is ac­tive in en­vi­ron­men­tal causes.

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