2002Arts and PhilosophyArts (Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Photography, Design, etc.)
Tadao Ando photo

Tadao Ando

  • Japan / September 13, 1941
  • Architect
  • Professor, University of Tokyo

An architect who explored the limits of humankind's relationship with nature through his original forms and structures

Using the medium of unfinished reinforced concrete, Professor Ando has developed a unique mode of architectural expression infused with a sense of nature. As one of Japan's leading architects, he has pushed the possibilities of modern architecture and continues to expand the field's possibilities on a global scale.
*This field then was Field of Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Design, Architecture).


Brief Biography

Born in Osaka, Japan
Self-educated in architecture, Travels in U.S.A., Europe and Africa
Established Tadao Ando Architect and Associates
Visiting Professor, Yale University
Visiting Professor, Columbia University
Visiting Professor, Harvard University
Professor, the University of Tokyo

Selected Awards and Honors

Annual Prize, Architectural Institute of Japan
The Gold Medal, The French Academy of Architecture
Japan Art Academy Prize
Pritzker Architecture Prize
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier, France
Asahi Prize
The 8th Praemium Imperiale, Japan
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Officier, France
The RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) Gold Medal
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The French Academy of Architecture
Honorary Degree from University of Roma

Major Works


Row House, Sumiyoshi (Azuma House), Osaka, Japan


Rokko Housing I, Kobe, Japan


Water Temple, Awaji, Japan


Church of the Light, Osaka, Japan


Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum, Osaka, Japan


FABRICA, (Benetton Communication Research Center) Treviso, Italy


Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, U. S. A.


Meditation Space, UNESCO, Paris, France Others


An architect who explored the limits of humankind's relationship with nature through his original forms and structures

Using the medium of unfinished reinforced concrete, Professor Tadao Ando has developed a unique mode of architectural expression infused with a sense of nature. As one of Japan’s leading architects, he has pushed the envelope of modern architecture and continues to expand the field’s possibilities on a global scale. Professor Ando is a self-taught architect born in Osaka in 1941.After establishing the firm Tadao Ando Architect and Associates in 1969, he garnered the attention of Japanese architectural circles when his Row House at Sumiyoshi (1976) was awarded the Architectural Institute of Japan’s Annual Prize in 1979. The Row House project provides a provocative reminder of what it means to live in a dwelling through the influence of typical Osaka working-class homes. Rendering characteristics of traditional row houses into a contemporary idiom, the structure embodies Professor Ando’s desire to incorporate the natural world into urban residences.

Works such as TIME’S (1984, Kyoto), Chapel on Mt. Rokko(1986, Kobe), Church of the Light (1989, Osaka), Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum (1992, Naoshima), Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum (1994, Osaka), and many others have been equally stimulating to modern architecture at large. Expressed through unadorned steel-reinforced concrete cast with metal shuttering, his structures are both straightforward and lyrical and have been praised by architects worldwide for their successful incorporation of Japanese architectural elements into a contemporary context. Accordingly, Professor Ando’s own sphere of activity has extended to a global scale. Many of his designs strive to create an interplay between modern architecture and history, as in his Benetton Communication Research Centre (2000, Treviso, Italy) and International Library of Children’s Literature (2002, Tokyo), and all of them are imbued with a continuity of concept and an excellence of artistry that have made them the object of international recognition.

Professor Ando’s original style has grown out of his aesthetic quest to relate life and architecture within a modernist context. At the same time, he has passionately pursued the fusion of his works with nature, occasionally mediating this relationship by placing structures underground. Despite the inherent foreignness of buildings in the natural world, his creations successfully integrate into their surroundings while maintaining a sense of strength. It is this synchronism of naturalistic influences from traditional Japanese architecture with modernist qualities that distinguishes Professor Ando’s designs. His is an architecture born out of the interaction of nature, history, and culture.

In addition to artistic excellence, Professor Ando has shown a deep awareness of the broad social implications of his metier through active involvement in social causes. After the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995, he took a leading role in providing support to the victims by serving as chairman of a ten-year committee formed by artists and other intellectuals dedicated to the reconstruction effort. With characteristic and straightforward resolve, he proselytized the social obligation of architects to contribute to urban recovery. As part of this endeavor, he continues his work with the Setouchi Olive Foundation, dedicated to restoring environmental decimation caused by industrial waste on Teshima Island.

Professor Ando’s original oeuvre has stimulated and expanded the potential of modernist architecture. His social service efforts serve as a model for the ways in which architects can positively contribute to the world in which we live. For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is proud to present the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy to Professor Tadao Ando.


Abstract of the Lecture

Thinking about our Environment in the 21st Century

For me, the word “Kyoto” first conjures up the ancient buildings I visited during my youth. But the very next image that enters my mind is that of the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in1997 at COP3 (the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) an international agreement in which advanced industrialized nations set targets for controlling and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. After World War 2, the Japanese embraced an American-style,consumption-based civilization. They worked to build a social system based on mass production and mass consumption and achieved success. But that system also generates a massive amount of waste.It cannot continue to exist in a world that has limited resources. In recent years, industrialized countries have at last realized the contradictions inherent in a consumption-based society. I had hoped that, with the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, they would generate active proposals for the future of the global environment and announce their work to the entire world. Disappointingly, however, the protocol has failed to be ratified. Opinion has been divided among different nations because of fears that the protocol would have a dampening effect on economic activity. To my mind, however, preserving the environment in which people live is far more important than economic concerns.

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Architecture in the 21st Century

Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Kyoto International Conference Hall
Shuji Takashina [(Chairman of the Kyoto Prize Committee) Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo] Hiroyuki Suzuki [(Member of the Kyoto Prize Committee) Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo]
Hiroyuki Suzuki


Welcome Hiroyuki Suzuki
Opening Address Shuji Takashina
Introduction of Laureate Hiroyuki Suzuki
Laureate Lecture Tadao Ando Laureate in Arts and Philosophy
"Creation of Breathing Architecture"
Panel Discussion "Inheriting History into the Future"
Shuji Takashina
Tadao Ando
Hayao Kawai[Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs]
Osamu Ishiyama [Professor, Department of Architecture, Waseda University]
Hiroyuki Suzuki
Concluding Remarks Shuji Takashina