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TADAO ANDO


In recent years, consciousness has indeed grown in matters regarding nature and environmental issues. It was Emilio Ambasz who first called our attention to nature and the environment at quite an early point in his career, and ever since he has striven to achieve a fusion of nature and architecture.


The use of abstract forms and modes of expression in architecture, while it is the most remarkable concept born of the twentieth-century modern movement, contains the germ of contradiction. I have become convinced that architecture cannot be derived from the purely abstract as long as a function is demanded of it. The concrete aspects of nature, climate, and tradition, are intrinsic to the existence of architecture and it is not possible to ignore the extremely concrete demands of daily life. By drawing nature into abstraction and giving it expression within his method of architectural creation, Ambasz, in his brilliant insight, appears to have embarked and he brings us with him into a realm of architecture previously unknown to human experience. To underscore this marriage, I may want to call it 'environmental architecture.' Someday we may just call it, again, Architecture. Ambasz's quest has started a trend in the recent work of many other architects. By using nature on a massive scale, Ambasz presents us with the entire environment as a constellation from which architecture draws its essential being. There is, I believe, no prior example of nature governing architectural creation with such power and haunting seduction.


The scope of his vision and the depth of his insights overcome immense differences in scale, traveling freely between poles of macro and micro, thoughtfully contemplating the intervals between the abstract and the concrete. This is especially true of his attempts to transform nature into architecture on a grand urban scale. We can see in his most recent work, like the Fukuoka project, that we are presented with ideas and images which are quite outstanding. The journey on which he has embarked is as yet uncharted, as is always the case of original design, and it is one where he shall surely encounter immeasurable difficulties. Nevertheless, as we all now stand before the twenty-first century, I have high expectations that the results, which his endeavor and findings are yielding, will prove truly substantial. He has taught us to see a dimension where nature and architecture are inseparable, a realm extending from the Godgiven to the man-made nature. His work promises an ample domain where the found and the made, the natural and the artificial, coexist joyfully. He has fulfilled the promise of his early projects and has indeed shown us the way to a rebeginning of architecture.





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