Abstraction and Transcendence

Nature, Shintai, and Geometry in the Architecture of Tadao Ando

by Pham Thanh Hien

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: The University of Cincinnati
Advisor(s): John E. Hancock
Degree: M.S. Architecture
Year: 1998
Volume: 198 pages
ISBN-10: 158112029X
ISBN-13: 9781581120295


This thesis introduces Tadao Ando, a well-known Japanese architect, who is currently working on an emerging concept in the discourse of architecture, and is opening an approach of high sensibility (sensual, reflective, flexible, and complex, sensitively matching with every moment of life) and conceptualism (rational, logically approaching truth) that is widely considered one of the most important ways of thinking and designing architecture.

In the introduction chapter, Tadao Ando's is introduced as a master of architecture and as a critic. Secondly, his goals, objectives, concepts and strategies are outlined. These aspects are grouped and developed into major themes. Those themes will later be interpreted in Chapter Four.

In the second chapter of the thesis, the architecture of Tadao Ando is examined more closely, through critics' studies and his writings. This part aims to open further discussions on the most substantial and important grounds and sources of his architecture, which are interpreted in further detail in Chapter Four: the key themes of his works and theories.

Being aware that Ando's architecture cannot be understood without grasping "Japaneseness", or the historical cultural and regional contexts of Japan, the third chapter will be devoted to briefly introducing the origins, philosophy, traditions, and culture of the country, as well as major points of new waves of Japanese architecture, both of which tangibly and intangibly serve as the foundation for Ando's architectural themes: nature, shintai, and geometry as both abstract construct and substance. This chapter is essential for understanding the foundation and context of Ando's thoughts that always determine his architecture.

Chapter Four is the key part of the thesis. It focuses on two aspects: Ando's philosophically-based theoretical concepts, and his major themes which have been introduced in the previous sections. This chapter provides a general and coherent understanding of his work.

The concluding chapter summarizes the crucial points from among Ando's visions, moving from origins and philosophical grounds through concepts, strategies and theories, to the unique solutions which he advances for problems of the age. Thematically, Tadao Ando's works may be shown to reveal: Dialogue with Nature and Tradition (cosmologies, culture); Shintai and Space (mutual independence and penetration); and Geometry (spatial compositions, minimalist form, material and texture). Among these three over riding themes, there are many interrelated sub-themes are also examined.