Monday, June 28, 2010

Ando Online?

Tadao Ando has been one of the few architects -- superstars, mainly -- in my running tally of those without a web page*. But in my search for information on an Ando project I came across a real estate listing for an apartment in one of his buildings, a listing that features a link to what looks to be the architect's official web page. The Japanese/English site includes the footer "COPYRIGHT TadaoAndo Architect & Associates 2009, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED," so I'm somewhat confident the page is Ando's own, not a fan page, even though the design and content leave a lot to be desired.

One aspect of the Japanese page that I do like is the map feature, missing in the English portion.

ando-web1.jpg

It is simply a graphically pixelated map of a portion of Japan with red squares for projects standing out from the green ones. A click on a red box opens a pop-up window with a small photo, text in Japanese and driving directions, also in Japanese. These pop-ups remind me of the special issue of Casa Brutus from 2002, the Grand Tour with Tadao Ando.

ando-web2.jpg

Certainly the map and rest of the site leave one yearning for more, but it makes me wonder what form the web page of other hold-outs* should take. Ando's site seems to be a place holder for hopefully something better, and with Flash waning and sites built in WordPress, Drupal and other open-source formats on the rise, I don't foresee Ando being joined by other architects on my list any time soon. One site that might be a good model for Ando and other hold-outs is Morphopedia, because the site acts less as a marketing tool and more as an archive, a digital repository of Thom Mayne's output over the years. For architects with Pritzker Prizes under their belts, flexible sites ideal for archiving and browsing may be better than animated ones with graphic control but little to nil flexibility.

*Architects without web pages include Frank Gehry (this doesn't count), Herzog & de Meuron, Rafael Moneo, Glenn Murcutt, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, SANAA (as F M's comment indicates, this surely doesn't pass for a web page ), Alvaro Siza, and Peter Zumthor.