Juliana Yang

Tadao Ando’s Toward New Horizons in Architecture (1991), today

Hines V: Tadao Ando (1991), for which this text was composed, was the fifth and final exhibition of the Gerald D. Hines Interests Architecture Program at the Museum of Modern Art. The series also comprised exhibitions on Ricardo Bofill and Leon Krier, Mario Botta, Deconstructivist Architecture, and Emilio Ambasz/Steven Holl. These were accompanied by lectures, symposia, and catalogue publications, so as to examine trends in architecture that were current between the years 1985 and 1991. That they were held at the MoMA had the effect of broadening the audien

This text exists in three formats, for three purposes of the exhibition. As a foreword at the entrance to the exhibit itself, this iteration appears without title or introductory paragraph and its points shortened. Here, it reads less as a polemic, and more of a manifesto. The fully composed text appears both at the back of the Kenneth Frampton authored monograph that accompanied the exhibition, and in the members’ quarterly journal, MoMA. Both versions are identical save for the slight variation in title; in the monograph, Beyond Horizons in Architecture, and in the journal, Toward New Horizons in Architecture.

This discrepancy is particularly curious when considering the forceful allusion to Le Corbusier’s Toward a New Architecture (as commonly translated). One can only speculate whether Ando felt that a familiar title would be more attention-grabbing for the less invested magazine reader or that a humbler title was more appropriate for the end of his monograph. Nevertheless, the Corbusian title is the one that seems to have stuck, appearing as such in Kate Nesbitt’s 1996 anthology of architectural theory.

The similarities to Le Corbusier’s text are more substantial than an allusive title only. Ando’s text is similarly polemic in its conceit, writing in direct response to the failing (in his view) of contemporary post-modernist architecture. Both see themselves in the precipitous position of re-directing architecture at an impasse, and both make an appeal to an essence of architecture that, crucially, can be recovered. In a subtle reinforcement of his presented character, Ando’s points are guiding rather than prescriptive, numbered four rather than five. Separating the title from the author’s name is a ‘+’, opposite a photograph of the chiaroscuro interior of his Church of the Light, the emblematic equal-armed cross front and centre. In this vein Ando projects a softer-spoken authority than Le Corbusier does, foreshadowing the central place that balance rather than dominance will occupy.

The introduction of the word “Horizon” in the title indicates a new architecture of a particular character; one with environmental and phenomenological rootedness. His four points offer instruction not only to architects making buildings, but also to a broader sphere of thought about inhabiting them. They are: Transparent Logic, Abstraction, Nature, and Place. Ando’s most manifesto-like statement can be found in the final paragraph, an effective structure which gives credence and nuance to an otherwise unassuming sentence. We will reverse course and begin with this statement, and in unpacking its terms will soon see it as a microcosm of the text as a whole.

Without sentimentality, I aspire to transform place through architecture to the level of the abstract and universal.

The analysis will begin by looking closely at the usage of “place” and situate it within a metaphysical groundwork, followed by a reading of how the abstract figures into this. Ando’s diagnosis of the contemporary state of architecture provides context for an understanding of the significance of the universal. Finally, the active verb (to transform) will be re-examined within the framework set up by the preceding text.

Metaphysical Grounding

The choice of the word “place” is primarily important. It defines the ground within which architecture is first imagined, then made real. This metaphysical groundwork is the basis of Ando’s theory of architecture, defining its domain. “Place” is especially interesting when compared to its (contemporarily) more popular counterpart space, suggesting a condition of being embedded in material reality. It opens the possibility for the work of architecture to be grounded in the physical rather than formal realm, and implicitly gives value to sensory and environmental conditions.

In what seems at first to be a contradictory position against a rooted domain, Ando skillfully engages a dialectic of the concrete and the abstract. This ability to maintain a tension between apparently incongruous positions is a mode of Ando’s that recurs in the text, as well as in his architecture. The common binary of concrete/abstract suggests the domination of one at the expense of the other. However, in embracing the tension between them, Ando makes a paradigmatic shift to seek a condition of balance. Ando opens this text by stating and carefully defining this relationship:

Architectural thought is supported by abstract logic. By abstract I mean to signify a meditative exploration that arrives at a crystallization of the complexity and richness of the world, rather than a reduction of its reality through diminishing its concreteness.

For Ando, the world is complex, rich, concrete. The significance of abstraction and logic are premised on this fundamentally held worldview. This procedure of thought, for Ando, is a means not an end, the support not the content. His first point Transparent Logic elaborates subsequently on architectural creation:

At the core of architectural creation is the transformation of the concreteness of the real through transparent logic into spatial order. This is not an eliminative abstraction but, rather, an attempt at the organization of the real around an intrinsic viewpoint to give it order through abstract power.

A Diagnosis

Increasing in precision, Ando’s theory of making architecture enters into a description of a conceptual premise upon which his increasingly precise points will be based. Abstraction is a means for the architect to arrive at “spatial order” and  “organization.”  There seems to be an empowerment of architecture inherent to this viewpoint. The role of the architect in society remains intact as they provide the “intrinsic viewpoint” around which reality is organized. Rather than adding to or taking away from the complexity of the world, the architect has a power (in abstraction) to give order to a confusing reality and thus communicate a certain clarity about living. Spatial order and organization are grammars of communication, useful to the inhabitant in understanding (through experience) what the architect has discerned. In this way, the architect’s authority on how to live is not prescriptive. Ando again invokes a dialectic, here between order and the confusing realities of life. Championing one over the other is rejected in favour of finding a balance between them. This distinction sets Ando’s theory of transparent logic apart from one that is purely functionalist, where concrete reality is also understood in abstract terms, but does not leave room for the architect to critically discern what he calls the “essence” of these requirements. In metaphysical terms, we understand that the locus of meaning resides in concrete reality itself. It also allows him to maintain a voice in conversation with reality, rather than assuming (the semblance of) a purely passive role.

Architectural creation involves contemplating the origins and essence of a project’s functional requirements and the subsequent determination of its essential issues.

The “essential” quality of issues to be dealt with speaks to the word “universal” that appears in the manifesto statement above, obviously an important concern of Ando’s. If the universal is what architecture aspires to speak to, Ando works to help a comprehension of his intended meaning by first understanding what architecture should avoid. The prelude to the text reads as a sort of diagnosis to which he will offer, if not remedy, a remedial direction. Attributing the “deterioration” of modernism to it “becoming conventionalized” and having “abandoned its self-ordained role as a revitalizing cultural force,”  Ando reveals a belief in the social power of architecture. In fact, one won’t find a bad adjective without a suggested improvement. Even while lamenting past failures, Ando’s tone is hopeful, not pessimistic. His way out is through, suggesting:

replacing the mechanical, lethargic, and mediocre methods to which modernism has succumbed with the kind of abstract, meditative vitality that marked its beginning

These statements converge around a viewpoint that disavows the view that architecture is impotent socially and culturally, that it forms a neutral background on which meaning takes place. That architecture can be “conventionalized” and “mediocre” signifies that there is meaning contained within architecture itself. The adjectives “mechanical, lethargic, and mediocre” offer some hint to the ways in which architecture can lose relevance and power. These characteristics are not very pointed, though, and their vagueness dulls the sharpness of his critique. However, when considered in relation to the parallel failures of post-modernism, we begin to understand that Ando’s theory of architecture is not best described with approval and disapproval of particular characteristics, but rather, as an evaluative method.

He writes that, although respectably energized, postmodernism had “quickly become mired in hackneyed expression, producing a flood of formalistic play that is only confusing rather than inspiring.” The ethos of postmodernism was rooted in an approach that evidently was reactionary. Where mediocrity had been a failure, hackneyed expression was one as well. The mechanical, replaced by play, was not much better. In setting up these dichotomies, Ando demonstrates that binary thinking may hinder the architect’s ability to see the solution to their problems. In reacting to one extremity with the other, the resulting current of architectural thought was not, in his view, successful. Ando’s rejection of reactionary ideology is supplemented by an alternative mode of thinking, which in itself is congruous with its message of critical conservation of tradition. This attitude is founded on a belief in ancient wisdom that has been forgotten, but which is latent in humanity and can be recovered.

The serious designer must question even the given requirements, and devote deep thought to what is truly being sought.

In rejecting convention, mediocrity, and what is given, Ando suggests that the impetus for architectural creation is social or cultural transformation. This is not license, however, for the outlandish play that he attributes to postmodernism, for this supposed opposite to mediocrity does not enable the architect to understand nor address the truly essential. Where a mindset of binaries fail, as in the case of the postmodern impulse in reaction to modernism, Ando proposes a dialectical model. Major East Asian philosophical traditions, many of which are deeply influenced by Daoist thought whose central lesson lies in seeking balance, were doubtless formative to Ando’s worldview.

With an understanding that architecture itself has both meaning and power, and that the forgetting of this power has led to a deterioration in contemporary architecture, a clearer picture of Ando’s aspiration to transformation at the level of the universal begins to take form. In particular, he states:

The creation of an architecture able to breathe new vigour into the human spirit should clear a road through the present architectural impasse.

Toward the Universal

The end to which this text is oriented is that of a recovery of the spiritual. Phenomenology and abstraction are the realms in which Ando situates architecture. Criticality of the status quo and the social power of architecture are defended in spite of their contemporary lack. These premises are supported by the urgency and relevance of an appeal to the spiritual. When Ando writes that this new architecture will “clear a road through,” we get a very concrete sense of the assiduousness necessary to the application of this theory. It is worth repeating that architectural creation itself requires the architect to get to the “essence of a project’s functional requirements.” Ando offers some specificity about the essential in the context of domestic architecture, where function can clearly be distilled into the most plain example of inhabitation:

In designing a residence—a vessel for human dwelling—I pursue precisely that vital union of abstract geometrical form and daily human activity.

Even while employing the significant term of dwelling, Ando’s allusions to phenomenology are implicit and subtle. He resists branding himself or claiming allegiance to the Western philosophical tradition, nor should he be expected to. The text unambiguously embraces the use of philosophical frameworks and arguments; Ando does not shy away from nor repudiate a non-pragmatic approach to architecture and encourages critical reflection on given conditions. At the same time, he comfortably moves between evolving frameworks, choosing and keeping the elements of philosophies which are suited to his theory. Philosophy is thus treated instrumentally, in service of widening and clearing an understanding of architecture as part of a theory of existence. “Dwelling” is a compelling term, and whether the reader situates it in Heideggerian philosophy or not, it retains significance. This is partly because it stands out against common architecture vernacular, which uses terms such as machine, living space, or unit—all with connotations of their own. Even the casual reader can infer the distinctions between these conceptions of the residence and its supposed purpose. “Dwelling” has a certain generosity embedded in it, an allowance of time for living in an embodied sense, where needs and desires of the body find purchase and existence is not a means to production, efficiency, or anything other than itself. Heideggerian dwelling relates to place rather than space, suggesting the important connection between living, where you live, and how to make where you live. This is related to building etymologically by Heidegger—the German bauen (building) is derived from buan (dwelling)—which makes the concept especially relevant to architects, but can also be understood in the more domestic sense of homemaking, which is non-derisively acknowledged by Ando in his qualification of dwelling as “daily human activity.” The everyday and the mundane are situated in a conception of a particular mode of human existence wherein they are baptized as universal. This understanding of the content of the vessel is then set against the ways in which it is made.

Architectural Means

The relationship of the architect to dwelling (“daily human activity”) is in the making of its vessel, qualified by Ando as “abstract geometrical form.” We have already seen that Ando’s understanding of the abstract is not formalistic. With this in mind, abstract geometry is cast in a different light, not as an end to be pursued—as in “formalistic play”—but as a suitable means to communicating logic and order. Ando’s primary understanding of the architect’s role is that of understanding the complexity of the project and its context (the breadth of which will be discussed later) at an abstract level, so that the work is made legible and held together by a thread of logical clarity. Thus, geometry is subdued in Ando’s usage; elsewhere he writes that “mere geometry” is transcended by “transparent logic,” indicating  an attitude towards the architecture which makes it a background for living, it itself should not be the centre of attention.

It is crucial to note that at this point in the text, having provided a historical context and elucidating the core theoretical positions he holds (those of transparent logic and abstraction), Ando begins to punctuate his theory with several examples of his own work. There are four photographs of Ando’s works included, all shot by Mitsuo Matsuoka, representative of two interior views and two exterior views of three different buildings.

Ando offers his buildings as evidence to his theories, spelling out their components (order, geometric abstraction, rootedness in place) in relation to their meaning (essence, spirituality, dwelling, universality). This has the effect of substantiating his theory with its execution. The perceived level of success of the images validate the level of success of the theory, though do not participate in instruction in the same way that drawings or diagrams might. Nevertheless, in his textual descriptions, which cover a broader range of buildings than are included in the photographs, Ando speaks in simple, logically ordered steps, which has the effect of illustrating the pedagogic conceit of the text. For example, in describing the Row House (Azuma Residence) in Suniyoshi, Ando writes:

A simple geometric form, the concrete box is static; yet as nature participates within it, and as it is activated by human life, its abstract existence achieves vibrancy in its meeting with concreteness. In this house my chief concern was the degree of austerity of geometric form that could be fused with human life.

By contrast, the photographs do not illustrate the process work of the architect as would be achieved by plan or other drawings depicting the process of making a building. The finality of the photographs, depicting the final product, suggest an appeal to a broader audience than architects, and thus might have been considered outside of the pedagogic realm. The interior photographs illustrate a public and a private project each. Both are overexposed: the sunlight casting bright, white focal points with blurred edges, its source mysteriously concealed from eye and camera sight. There is a sublime quality invoked by this strategic blurring, mysticism takes over what we cannot see. The views out the window, for example, are blown-out and obscured, rendering the interiors (curiously) placeless. This seemingly contradictory move may, however, be in line with Ando’s reasoning after all. By letting the light take over the film, Ando allows a the most sensory quality to be at the forefront of the image. This is a hallmark of his disposition to sidestep the expected, to engage a dialectic tension, rather than a dominant dichotomization, between image and reality. In fact, by obscuring the view with particles of light, what is avoided in these photographs is an image of a landscape; a falsified dematerialization of the outside into an image of itself. The associative meanings of light/immaterial and landscape/material are inverted to reveal that light itself is sensory, and landscape is an image.  

Both concrete interiors, characteristically marked by their formwork and expansion joints, should look heavy and dark but are light. What is evoked is not quite warmth, but the cell-like spaces are punctuated with air and light holes: there is room to breathe. The concrete, though rising above the height of the eyes, is distanced from the viewer: a background, not a container. The feeling of distance is perhaps reinforced by the sparseness of the photographs. In the church, the backs of heads are uniformly dark, backlit by the uber-bright sun, a room full of silhouettes. The other interior is even more bare. The room is populated by selective, designed furniture: a white sofa, wishbone chairs, an extra long table. The floor, countertop, and tabletop are pristine and empty. Dwelling is less apparent than expected. The vessel comprises the main content of the image, awaiting an imagined inhabitation on the part of the viewer. Though generous in space, there is little invitation to the viewer to participate; the emptiness is oppressive rather than accommodating. The view of the church is similarly out of reach: shot above human height, the central aisle is not walkable and, anyway, the pews are filled. The interiority of these interiors is perhaps too private, the camera feels as if it is the only access the viewer has, and will ever have, to them.

The two exterior photographs again showcase one public and one private building, and are similarly uninhabited. Here, their blank surfaces are stark against mountain ranges and trees, but mirror the clean void of the sky. Though clearly geometric and smooth, the building surfaces invoke a sense of continuity with their surroundings. The Children’s Museum unfolds and undulates in a way that is reminiscent of the mountains, whose stippled grey merges with the centred concrete façade; the boundary between them almost disappears for a brief moment. Likewise, the vertical element interrupting the blank façade of the Koshino House is aligned with the distant tree trunk, making the distinction between them almost ambiguous. In both photographs the framing is strategic, cutting off before the building definitively meets the ground. In effect, the built architecture does not sit as an object on the ground, it is the ground. This is especially true in the case of the Koshino House, which is partially buried, but even its framing reinforces this idea with the pavement touching the bottom edge of the photograph.

The continuity between what is built and what is natural is smoothed by the photographs being black and white. Their internal coherence is strong, but perhaps too much so for the context of their inclusion in this piece of writing. Ando’s arguments have thus far been pedagogic not prescriptive, describing a means not an end. The coherence and confidence of the photographs are much more assertive of his own style. Although Ando’s emphasis on geometry is dismissive of its “surface beauty,”21 it is nevertheless implicitly understood that appearance is not irrelevant. In the photographs, Ando’s commitment to simple and austere geometrical surfaces is obvious. It is unfortunate that  his discussion of geometry and abstraction omits elaboration of austerity; other than that it is sought, it is not revealed how or why this striking aesthetic principle is unfailingly Ando’s choice. The aesthetic uniformity and “degree of austerity” sometimes undermine the resonance of a dialectical tension; if there are other expressions of logic and clarity available to architects, they do not feel possible in Ando’s world. Such a theory, which deliberately avoids being too prescriptive yet in its ambiguity is contradicted by the narrowness of illustration, borders on being self-affirming rather than instructive. In this way, the inclusion of the images detracts from the lesson of the theory, clouding the reader’s interpretation with Ando’s own.

Natural Ontology

The discussion of nature occupies the prestigious space of one of four headings, where Ando proposes a conception of nature that not only makes room for the oft repressed binary opposite to the built environment. He makes a point of distancing himself and his theory from the Western conception of nature, both to the effect of legitimizing his position within a substantial and historical framework (that is, of Japanese tradition), and to clarify a distinction for the (Western) reader. He writes:

The Japanese tradition embraces a different sensibility about nature than that found in the West. Human life is not intended to oppose nature and endeavour to control it, but rather to draw nature into an intimate association in order to find union with it. […] This kind of sensibility has formed a culture that de-emphasizes the physical boundary between residence and surrounding nature and establishes instead a spiritual threshold.

The eminence of nature is here understood as part of an ontology that is distinct from the prevailing naturalistic one of the West, where nature and culture are ultimately divided. When Ando invites nature inside, it is not domesticated into a mere object or image that can be consumed/destroyed by the subject. In describing the nature/culture encounter, Ando uses such words as fusion and collision, suggesting an egalitarian attribution of power and influence. The frequent binary opposition of nature/culture is stabilized in an embrace of the tension between the two (equally conceived) parts. We might juxtapose this conception of nature (and conversely, of humanity) as it relates to architecture to the dominant narratives of green architecture in the West today, which attempts to respond to ecological catastrophes with the quantitative subordination of nature’s dangers through building performance and technological progress, without the ability to admit the human role in precipitating such disasters. Crucially, Ando’s ontological reframing of humanity’s relationship to nature makes an alternative response possible. In particular he identifies the need for architects to contend with nature as a contemporary urgency (almost thirty years before mainstream climate emergency declarations). If there is a why to architecture, this is Ando’s. The problem is twofold:

Today, unfortunately, nature has lost much of its former abundance, just as we have enfeebled our ability to perceive nature. 

This framing of the problem reinforces his rejection of the naturalistic and ultimately patronizing impulse to preserve a type of nature with instrumental value only. Architecture, by Ando’s account, is decisively a human act. Rather than acting on nature to conform it to our values, the architect acts on the way in which humans will perceive both nature and themselves as part of nature. The relationship between human life and nature is the paramount concern of Ando’s discussion of both human life (dwelling) and nature. Expanding the conception of nature available to architects, Ando names four “elements of nature,” which are illuminating in that they begin to qualify a rather broad and ambiguous term.

The elements of nature—water, wind, light, and sky—bring architecture derived from ideological thought down to the ground level of reality and awaken manmade life within it.

“Water,” the first, appears obvious as a primary element of nature. When it is included by architects, the results are often successful, and yet is prevalent mainly outside the Global North. The audience in reach of the MoMA can be thought to be less acquainted with the idea of water being an architectural element. “Wind,” more concrete than air, more poetic than ventilation. Wind is a forceful element, whose measure is significantly human. “Light,” an expected and familiar architectural obsession. Ando’s attribution of light to nature is hardly controversial and deeply characteristic to his work. Finally, “sky,” is telling of a point of view that is grounded, and looking up. The Japanese conception of the sky is often likened to void, the counterpart to existence. These four elements, “water, wind, light, and sky,”  are architecturally tangible facets of nature, making them instrumentally valuable in addition to being poetic. Notably excluded from this definition of nature are elements such as soil, vegetation, insects—though nature is for Ando a grounding element, he noticeably avoids discussion of the dirtier realities of the ground itself.  Returning to the spiritual goal of architecture, Ando’s framing of nature casts a distinctive light upon its use to the architect and the inhabitant of the building (“awakening manmade life”). Thus the transformative power of architecture is not only directed at a transformation of the landscape—though this is incontestable—but at a transformative power in the social (human) realm as well.

Contemporary architecture, thus, has a role to play in providing people with architectural places that make them feel the presence of nature. When it does this, architecture transforms nature through abstraction, changing its meaning. 

This humble prerogative, to provide a place where the presence of nature can be felt, nevertheless imbues architecture with a social power. The transformation of nature is not only a material act, it is in the realm of meaning, of abstraction. Ando’s understanding of architecture as transformative is therefore much more potent than it portends to be. The ambition of the architect, in Ando’s theory, is markedly distinct from the contemporary feeling of social impotence in the discipline. Transgressing the post-modernist impulse, Ando undermines its nihilistic determinism by pointing out its complicity in perpetuating a maelstrom of commodification and alienation. In reaction to modernism, Ando walks a fine line of returning to its social ambitions, with the belief that a humble and grounded approach to social change is a better mode of architectural power than that of the totalizing project. The tone of his text is doggedly optimistic, but careful to not be arrogant. “Spiritual sensibilities,” after all, are “latent in contemporary humanity,” it is the role of the building only to “awaken” them.

Discovering Architecture

By what means can the architect redefine their disposition to architecture in relation to nature? Ando’s framing of this problem, with a phenomenological tinge, returns to a conception of place (rather than space). Ando does not deny the contradictory threat of embracing and respecting nature while fundamentally changing the place where architecture is built. Rather, his disposition is to acknowledge the stakes of the work, in order to pursue a transformation of place that is not violent but spiritually beneficial.

The presence of architecture—regardless of its self-contained character—inevitably creates a new landscape. This implies the necessity of discovering the architecture which the site itself is seeking.

Here, Ando characterizes architecture as discovered, eschewing both the pitfalls and glory associated with creation. Relinquishing the familiar narrative of the architect as creative genius, he assumes the role of discerner and conduit of the essential. He does, however, leave room for an intellectual mastery on the part of the individual, a hard thing to relinquish in a solo retrospective at the MoMA. The required work in this scenario is not passive, but critical, and entails the communication of clarity. In the text, Ando is facing an audience of architects and non-architects alike, and this polemic is directed toward both the making and inhabitation of architecture. This is evidenced in his elucidation of the often vague conceptions about what architects mean by site.

I compose the architecture by seeking an essential logic inherent in the place. The architectural pursuit implies a responsibility to find and draw out a site’s formal characteristics, along with its cultural traditions, climate, and natural environmental features, the city structure that forms its backdrop, and the living patterns and age-old customs that people will carry into the future.

This list is almost overly comprehensive, so encompassing that the message is diluted. And yet it, as the whole of the text, retains insight because of Ando’s sensitive voice. Aspects of site are not collected as data, but found and drawn out. Cultural traditions, nature, and habits are not ossified in a patronizing preservation, but are sustained by their enduring aptness. That “age-old customs” will be “carr[ied] into the future” is emblematic of such apparently contrasting ideas being held in a balance. Remembering Ando’s statement on the residence, the linking component stands out as the key to this perspective. Contrasting dwelling with the abstract geometry of the “vessel,” we understand these two elements of  the architectural project. Yet the most significant lesson Ando offers is that of their relation. This is elucidated by several linking terms: “vital union … fused …  collides.” These meetings are forceful and transformative, not negotiated or compromised, yet the outcome is a quiet vitality rather than explosive destruction.

Geometric abstraction collides with human concreteness, and then the apparent contradiction dissolves around their incongruity.

The outcome of the collision is a dissolution of the presupposed division between abstraction and concreteness. While the primacy of clarity, logic, and geometry informs the architect’s fundamental disposition to their work, these premises necessitate a participation in the realm of nature in order to, so to speak, come alive. This dissolution of boundary is, for Ando is spiritually powerful. This principle is exemplified in the courtyard, “an exterior that fills the interior.” These supposedly fixed boundaries are undermined by reframing their difference as culturally formed, resulting in a dialectic permeation, where boundary is reconsidered as threshold.

Throughout the text, Ando preforms similar subtle inversions of commonly presumed tenets of architectural thought. His mode of argumentation is not a loud rejection of one concept in favour of its opposite, but to expose the tension between them and engage a dialectic towards balance. The disposition to be to critical and optimistic, pedagogical but not prescriptive, humble and universal, embodied and abstract, are all characteristics of Ando and his architecture in the language of this text. This theory, considered as a lesson in understanding how to inhabit architecture in order to understand how to make it, engages a dialectic between poles as an alternative to the domination/subordinate outcome of binary thinking. The way this theory of architecture is unfolded by Ando reflects the lessons it contains. Ando’s four points do not describe good and bad objects or outcomes, such as pilotis or horizontal windows, but a method, a way of approaching architecture. 

Ando, Tadao. “Toward New Horizons in Architecture.” MoMA, no. 9 (Autumn 1991): 9–11.

Descola, Philippe. “Terms, Relations, Categories.” In Beyond Nature and Culture, translated by Janet Lloyd, 232–44. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Frampton, Kenneth. Tadao Ando. New York, NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 1991.

Heidegger, Martin. “Building Dwelling Thinking.” In Basic Writings: Martin Heidegger, translated by David Farrell Krell, 343–64. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 1993.

MoMA. “Gerald D. Hines Interests Architecture Program at the Museum of Modern Art.” MoMA, 1985.

———. “Tadao Ando.” MoMA, June 1991.

Nesbitt, Kate, ed. Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory 1965-1995. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.