Tadao Ando. Photo by Kevin Kennefick.

Tadao Ando: Architect Features 15 ProjectsBy Award-Winning Japanese Architect

For Immediate Release

August 16, 2002

This fall, the Clark Art Institute will present the work of architect Tadao Ando, recently selected to design a new building and addition for the Institute. Tadao Ando: Architect, on view from September 28, 2002, through April 27, 2003, will feature 15 buildings and projects through models, drawings, photographs, and videos in an installation specially designed by the architect.  The Clark is the only other venue for Tadao Ando: Architect, which originated at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Ando's sensitivity to landscape and the contemplative nature of his interior spaces led the Institute to select him as architect for its upcoming expansion and campus enhancement. "This exhibition highlights the work of a distinguished architect who seamlessly weaves together architecture with dramatic natural environment," says Michael Conforti, director of the Clark Art Institute. "In these projects, visitors will see Ando's ability to create interplay between interior and exterior spaces through his use of natural lighting and the creation of dramatic vistas. Because the Clark's beautiful landscape is such an integral part of our identity, these were among some of the extraordinary qualities that made Ando the only choice for the Clark."

A self-trained architect, Ando was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1941. He studied traditional Japanese architecture and traveled to the United States, Europe, and Africa studying Western architecture and techniques, and founded Tadao Ando Architect & Associates in Osaka in 1969. Combining modern Western architecture and the simple geometric forms of traditional Japanese architecture, Ando has designed museums, religious structures, and residential and commercial buildings in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France as well as his native Japan. Ando is the recipient of the 1995 Pritzker Architecture Prize and the 2002 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, and this June was named recipient of the Kyoto Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts and philosophy.

Projects featured in Tadao Ando: Architect include private residences designed in the 1970s and Ando's Japanese churches of the 1980s, such as the Church of the Light in Osaka and the Church on the Water in Hokkaido. Among the highlights will be sketches, models, and photographs of the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum (1992), a complex of galleries and guest hotels on a scenic bluff overlooking Japan's Inland Sea that demonstrates Ando's approach to connecting buildings with the earth by recessing them underground.

The exhibition will bring Ando's career up to date with his recent commissions for museums in the United States and abroad, including the newly opened Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis. Designs for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, scheduled to open later this year, the future Calder Museum in Philadelphia, and the much-heralded commission for the Pinault Contemporary Art Foundation in Paris will also be on view.

Ando's design for the exhibition installation will feature a sequence of pristine, freestanding walls, which will serve as much as minimalist sculpture as they do as exhibit supports. As the walls divide the space, they will also unite it by orchestrating a rhythmic architectural promenade for the visitor.

While Ando's other American commissions are contemporary art museums in large urban settings, the Clark building is Ando's first U.S. museum project in a dramatic natural setting.  "We chose Ando as architect because his work best complements the Clark's 140-acre setting as well as the contemplative and serene experience of art and the fertile environment for research and scholarship that distinguish the Clark," says Conforti. Groundbreaking for the Clark's facility is scheduled for late 2003. Collaborating with Ando on the campus enhancement will be Watertown, Massachusetts-based landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand Associates. Reed Hilderbrand has worked on a number of projects in western New England, and their work in the Berkshires has consistently emphasized the area's rural character, including the types of ponds, trails, meadows, and scenic vistas found on the grounds of the Clark.

The Clark will offer a number of special public programs related to the exhibition:

Friday, September 27
5:30 p.m.: Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University will give the lecture "The Topographic Architecture of Tadao Ando."

Sunday, October 13
3:00 p.m.: Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker, will speak on the topic "Architecture, Museums, and Authenticity."

Sunday, November 16
4:00 p.m.: Suzanne Stephens, special correspondent to Architectural Record, will moderate the Clark Conversation "Expanding Museums in the 21st Century."

The Clark

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of the country's foremost art museums and also a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist, and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its 140-acre setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is also recognized for its special exhibitions, such as the current exhibition on Gustav Klimt's landscapes and the recent Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, which concurrently advance critical thought and generate popular interest in the arts.

The Institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation's leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars. The Clark's Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world to pursue research and share new scholarship.  The Institute encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. The Clark also is home to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which serves more than 50 institutions in the region and also provides professional training in art conservation.

Throughout Tadao Ando: Architect, the Clark galleries will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $10 (free to members, students, and children) through October 31. After October 31, admission is free. The Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit

Return to the previous page