Monday, January 16, 2006

Book Review: Seven Interviews with Tadao Ando

Seven Interviews with Tadao Ando, by Michael Auping



Auping - the chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - spoke with the architect of the institution's new home on seven occasions, when Ando was in town for design meetings and later construction visits. Given Auping's role and his relative lack of experience about architecture and its history, his questions tend to be specifically about the museum in Texas or generally about architecture and Ando's life. This leads to the reader learning a great deal about Ando and his views on architecture. His atypical education (once a semi-professional boxer, he travelled to Europe and other parts of Asia in lieu of a standard architectural education) tempers most of his thinking on architecture and space, informing it primarily as an experiential practice over a theoretical one. 

The reader sees how Ando's home country of Japan also informs much of his architecture, even when it is built on another continent. In the case of the Modern, he has created a variation on the traditional engawa (narrow transitional space between inside and outside) in the interaction of glass and the ever-present concrete. But more than facts or points-of-view, this book is valuable for the a peek into the mind of an architect who creates buildings of a transcendental nature, uplifting us to the possibilities of architecture as a means to "create a dialogue between diverse cultures, histories, and values," in the words of Ando.

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