Tadao Ando is a true master of light. Many of his designs have a sacred character - created with purist materials, a subtle shift in room sizes and the carefully guided inception of daylight.
One result of this distinctive approach is Koshino House, a holiday home that Ando built for a fashion designer near Osaka in 1980. The house is made up of two parallel constructions that are partly set into the steep slope on which they are situated. An underground corridor connects the two buildings.
The courtyard in the middle brings the various elements together and helps with the illumination of the house. A design studio extension consisting of fractured circular segments was added as a third element in 1984, stretching back up the hillside.
Concrete: hallmark material of Tadao Ando
All three parts are made of concrete – the hallmark material of Tadao Ando. At Koshino House he used concrete slabs with corrugated surfaces, where the holes from the formwork anchors are still visible. The wave-like structure gives the material a three-dimensional effect, especially when awash with daylight.
The dimensions of the slabs were specified to match those of a tatami mat - a traditional Japanese sleeping mat. These are made of rice straw and are the perfect size for a sleeping person. They are often used in Japanese architecture as a type of Modulor, or scale of proportions, and Ando is also clearly influenced by this idea. Indeed, not only the concrete slabs, but the entire basic grid of the house takes design cues from these iconic mats.
Horizontal and vertical light bands
Ando works tirelessly on different light modulations that are tailored to reflect their specific environment. The light rarely just enters the rooms through classic windows. For example, in Koshino House there are a series of horizontal and vertical light bands in the ceiling and in the wall. The sunlight that passes through these helps transform the rooms into poetic sculptures of space.
The projects of Ando can be seen as a blend of traditional Japanese culture and Western modernity. The influence of sacred Japanese architecture can also be detected in the way that Ando plays with spatial proportions - the change from narrow, labyrinthine, barely lit circulation areas to wide open spaces with sweeping windows. By harmoniously blending these elements, Ando succeeds in creating poetic places of peace and beauty.
Photos: Gonzalo Wolf
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- О, Дэвид… как они могли… Фонтейн растерялся: - Вы знаете этого человека.