Bourse de Commerce
 
Tadao Ando <br> at the Centre Pompidou
 
The work of Tadao Ando WAS celebrated in the largest-scale retrospective in france at the Centre Pompidou from October to December 2018. the japanese architect has worked on each of the Pinault Collection’s projects: the Île Seguin (unrealized, 2001), Palazzo Grassi (2006), Punta della Dogana (2009), the Teatrino (2013), and the Bourse de Commerce (2019). The monograph accompanying the exhibition was edited by Bourse de Commerce — pinault collection together with the Centre Pompidou and Flammarion.
 
<a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>Frédéric Migayrou</b><br> Co-curator of the exhibition
 
<div style="text-align: left;"> <span class="alinea"></span>Is it possible to fully grasp the entirety of Tadao Ando’s work, given the variety of the projects he has undertaken and the multiplicity of their programs, ranging from very simple houses to vast complexes in public spaces? Ando’s edifices, in a range of scales, are implanted in diverse contexts around the world. (…) <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>By looking closely at each project and analyzing the logic guiding their conception, we can establish connections, uncover analogies, and discern the consistent threads that allow us to grasp the architect’s approach and process. We can note a consistent vocabulary and grammar, a rigor amplified by Ando’s strict geometry, a precise use of materials, a common physical approach to the elements (light, water, earth, wind), combined to create an architecture entirely geared toward humankind, toward nature. Ando’s is also a combative architecture, an architecture of resistance, which he analyses in numerous texts that together constitute an exegesis, or even a hermeneutic, of his work. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>Ando’s architecture is direct, immediate. It doesn’t impose any references. It isn’t discursive. It isn’t stamped by the influence of prior epochs, styles, or schools. It abstracts itself from all factual dimensions of history. It can be analyzed according to a chronology, that of the architect’s biography, forming a personal mythology that amplifies his trajectory. It spans a number of incarnations: Ando the autodidact; Ando the boxer; Ando during his initiatory travels in the western world; Ando and Le Corbusier; and so on, until, in 1969, Ando opened his own firm and designed his first project (the reconstruction of the neighborhood surrounding the JR train station in Osaka). This chronology, now spanning close to fifty years, is reflected in Ando’s work, in his ongoing dialog with tradition (Japanese cultural tradition, of course, and more broadly, with forms of architecture across cultures). His architecture enforces an essential bond between man and his environment. Ando has consistently affirmed this stance, reacting on occasion with a vindictive critical force to the embellishments of his contemporaries. (…) <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The bases of Ando’s esthetic strategy became progressively more formal. The extreme reduction of his architectural vocabulary is a means of neutralizing its expressive dimensions. He uses geometry as a means of amplifying space, of creating a tension between matter and nature—the purest example of which, to Ando, is the Pantheon. “I use the logic structuring the whole, absent until then from traditional architecture, and the logic of the parts, in order to energize the various spaces. I seek to create order through geometry, using simple forms as a base (the square, the rectangle, the circle, and their sub-divisions); to make a selection among latent surrounding forces; to emphasize the logic of the parts, inherent to Japanese sensibility.” <br/> <br/> <i><u>Frédéric Migayrou</u>    In your architectural work, you use abstraction as a method, a generative principle. To this end, you have established a grammar of pillars and walls, of geometric systems, simple shapes, such as circles, rectangles, and squares, multiplied or subdivided to create intermediary spaces. With this simple grammar, you’ve subverted the constructive logic of modernism to liberate space from the body; space must be experienced, and no longer abstracted as it is in modernist works.</i> <br/> <br/> <u>Tadao Ando</u>    Rather than a method, isn’t geometry the result of a protracted reflection? If I pursue geometry, I end up in Greece. Then, if I continue to pursue geometry to its roots, I find myself obliged to abstract it. In a world in which you really have to think in order to reach a concrete architecture, I come back to my starting point: the circle, the square, and the triangle. This starting point, however, doesn’t suffice to create an architecture. How does one create an architecture? Having thought about it extensively, I land on the bond between dimension, height, surface, and three-dimensional volumes. How does one introduce materials into this reflection on volume, height, and surface? By committing to researching materials, shapes, and geometry. It’s a rather difficult thing to do. (…) I’ve always used concrete. This material, invented in France at the end of the nineteenth century, is used throughout the world. Everyone might use it, but I want to use it to create a space that no one else would be able to create. A space that encourages its visitors to ask themselves: how is it possible to create such a space with concrete? I wanted to do it with a material that is accessible to all, using only geometry, dimensions, and materials. <br/> <br/> <i><u>FM</u>    Light itself is a material. Your architectural works assert themselves in relation to materials and natural elements, and in the way in which they are inhabited by their occupants. You’re also a photographer. You capture in your photographs the moments when architecture reveals itself, gives itself over, offers itself up. You also transcribe these moments in your drawings.</i> <br/> <br/> <u>TA</u>    It is difficult to explain in words how architecture is created. Architecture must have two powers: the power to keep people at a distance, and the power to envelop them. How can we find an equilibrium among the two? For instance, when I take a photograph, I don’t want it to be merely beautiful: it has to keep the viewer at a distance, while appealing to his mind. Its artistic value lies in that equilibrium. The same applies to architecture. My buildings are composed of walls and columns. In many buildings, walls and columns are fused, but by making my walls and my columns independent of one another, I maintain the bond that connects them. I have to take into consideration so many things at once: functionality, rationality, economy. By introducing bodies into the space, I create an environment that keeps its occupants at a distance while also enveloping them. This is when architecture remains vividly in the visitor’s mind. It’s almost a literary quality. (…) In my project for the Bourse de Commerce, like at Punta della Dogana, I have to ask myself how to keep history at a distance, while also embracing it. How can we leap into the future? The goal is to create a world that embraces its past, while also welcoming the present and conveying hope for the future. We must create an experience of architecture that stays vivid in the memories and souls of those who experience it, that gives them the courage to live. That’s why, for both the Bourse de Commerce and the Punta della Dogana, I carefully studied each site’s history. I elaborate my projects by asking myself how my work will exist across centuries. <br/> <br/> <br/><div class="notes">Excerpts from the book <i>Tadao Ando. The Challenge</i>, Paris: <br/> Centre Pompidou, Flammarion, and Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection, 2018.</div> </div>
Cross-section of the final project for the Bourse de Commerce, conceived by Tadao Ando Architect and Associates, NeM / Niney et Marca Architectes, and Pierre-Antoine Gatier, pointing out the nine-meter-high cylinder in the rotunda and the subterranean auditorium
Preparatory scale models of Tadao Ando's project for the Bourse de Commerce, 2016. <br/> Exhibition views « Tadao Ando. The Challenge », Centre Pompidou, 2018.
Scale models of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana by Tadao Ando. <br/> Exhibition views, « Tadao Ando. The Challenge », Centre Pompidou, 2018.
 

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