Retrospective exhibition dedicated to architect Tadao Ando kicks off in Beijing
Published: Oct 12, 2021 06:29 PM
 Tadao Ando's workd of Church of Light Photo: Courtesy for Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation

Tadao Ando's workd of Church of Light Photo: Courtesy for Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation

An architectural exhibition displaying more than 80 original designs by legendary Japanese modernist architect Tadao Ando was launched in Beijing on Tuesday. 

As the fifth stop on the exhibit's world tour, the Beijing exhibition maintains Ando's chosen theme of "youth" as it displays a variety his works including the master's nostalgic personal hand sketches over four sections that tackle the subjects of "shape of space," "urban challenge," "landscape genesis" and "architecture and history."   

The highlights at the exhibition include two installations - Church of Light and Church on the Water - two works from Ando's most well-known "Church Trilogy" project in Japan. 

"I did case studies on his unique oriental minimalistic style during my research, but still felt overwhelmed when I actually stepped into the building. The ambience was 'holy' because all the solemnity was given by nature, which is eternal compared to us human beings… the 1:1 installation was such a treat for visitors," Wang Mingyu, an architect columnist attending the preview show, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The "Church Trilogy" of works, which include the Church of Wind, is recognized as the most representative of the architect's unique design philosophy. 

"The use of concrete in his design, the rustic, stubborn and primal sense resonates with the soft and spiritual natural elements of water, wind and light in a euphemistic way. The architect is always reminding us that nature can do something for human beings that we, ourselves, cannot," Wang Xun, a designer from Xi'an who came to Beijing for the exhibition, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Beside the two installations, the Beijing stop is giving visitors a bonus over the four previous stops in Tokyo, Paris, Milan and Shanghai - the mediation space that the architect designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNESCO is on display in Beijing for the very first time. 

 Tadao Ando Photo: Courtesy for Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation

Tadao Ando Photo: Courtesy for Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation

Ando, a very "atypical" architect who was once a boxer before becoming a much respected architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has a legendary life story. 

The architect who had five organs removed from his body due to cancer is still creating new works in his 80s and also constantly explores new innovative architectural approaches to face the challenges caused by fast paced urban development and the demand of metropolitans for more designed spaces adapted to people's increased desire for cultural experiences in everyday life. 

"The designed buildings, public art installations and increased cultural facilities in people's everyday lives can show a city's soft power," Xiao Ming, a social researcher, told the Global Times. 

The Japanese architect has also created many works in China including the Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre (2004), and the recent 2020 project- He Art Museum in Shunde, South China's Guangdong Province. 

The new exhibition was organized by organizations including the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation, CA-Group and the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. The exhibition is being held at the museum and is scheduled to end on January 9, 2022.