THE UNESCO WORKS OF ART COLLECTION

ANDO, Tadao (1941-)

Japan

    ANDO, Tadao (1941-)
    CHAIRS, MEDITATION SPACE

    Cast iron chairs
    131.5  x 49.5  x 42.5  cm

    Date of entry at UNESCO


    Donation made to UNESCO by the artist after the construction of the "Espace de Méditation"

    Country of origin
      Japan


    © Tadao Ando. All rights reserved
    © Photo : UNESCO/N. Burke


    Click on the images to enlarge


    Inside the "Espace de méditation", the visitor can sit upon one of those identical cast-iron chairs with extremely high and steady backs. Once seated upon one of these chairs, the rigidity of the back forces one to keep straight, in a solemn posture. This incites a contemplation upon oneself.


    Biography :
    Tadao Ando is born in Osaka on September 13, 1941. Since his birth, he was brought up by his maternal grandmother. At age 14, he carries out his first construction; with the help of carpenters, he extends his grandmother’s house, located in a working-class area of Osaka. He initially designs an upper floor, and later participates directly in the construction. At age 17 he begins boxing in order to learn how to defend himself, becomes a professional, and competes in over a dozen fights. This gives him the means to travel overseas, though he renounces quite quickly to the sport.
    Tadao Ando decides to learn about architecture, teaching himself – an extremely rare occurrence in Japan. He buys books on the subject and is fascinated by a work on Le Corbusier. From 1963 to 1968, he travels and decides to try meeting Le Corbusier, arriving in Paris unfortunately shortly after his death. Nevertheless, he visits the Swiss Pavilion, the Cité Universitaire, the Villa Savoye in Poissy, in very poor condition. In Marseilles, he visits the Unité d’habitation and the Sénanque abbey. He continues travelling, going to Rome, Athens, India. He does not study architecture, but rather immerses himself in it and attempts to perceive it physically. He is also influenced by important figures such as Louis I. Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright and by the written works of historians and critics like Sigfried Giedion and Kenneth Frampton.
    In 1969, he establishes his own agency in Osaka and begins by building modest houses. In 1976, he makes himself known with his miniscule "Row House", built on a parcel of land measuring 58 m². Designed as a sort of miniature cloister facing an interior courtyard, it opens towards the sky and is isolated from the bustle of the city with finely worked concrete. In 1987 he is invited to teach at the University of Yale in the USA and in 1997 it is the accolade in Japan, where, even lacking a diploma, he is appointed titular professor at the University of Tokyo.

    Strongly marked by the earthquake occurring January 1995 in Kobe – which particularly touched the area in which are found his first constructions - he donated his Pritzker prize money to the orphans of the city. He also collected funds to improve the quality of the reconstruction, as many deaths occurred due to the collapse of poorly built structures.



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