Ji young Lee- Church on the Water

October 1, 2009

floorplansection&plan1section&plan2section&plan3Tadao Ando - Church on the Water - Elevationtopview

<floor plan, sections, elevations>

sketch1sketch2sketch3sketch4sketch6 sketch7sketch8 <sketches>

Tadao Ando - Church on the Water - Interior123churchonthewater5churchonthewater6churchonthewater7churchonthewater9churchonthewater10churchonthewater12churchonthewater16churchonthewater17churchonthewater18

Japanese architect Tadao Ando is renowned for his architectures in harmony with nature. As his buildings are placed alongside a waterfront or in a natural setting, people could see the strong relationship between his works and nature. He injects the natural elements, which are the water, wind, light, sound and landscape, into his buildings. Especially water is an important element for his architecture.  Water in his building is used as an object, which people can look, and a boundary wall, which people cannot exceed.  Water also gives uniqueness to his buildings.  He uses shallow water, which flows quietly, so it doesn’t conflict with surroundings.

Ando’s chosen building material is an unfinished and exposed concrete. He thought the true beauty of architecture was made when human was in the space made by natural element. So he needed a material which could went well with the natural element without expressing itself. An unfinished and exposed concrete was a perfect material for him.  The three characteristics of his architecture which are Incorporating Nature, Studying the substance of unfinished and exposed concrete, and geometry can be seen in one of his buildings “Church on the water.”

The Church on the Water was designed by Tadao Ando between 1985 and 1988, and constructed in 1988. It was built in Tomamu, east of the city of Sapporo on the Hokkaido where is renowned as the coldest region in Japan.  During winter, watching a cross lighten up by the sun in the field of white snow gave him a spiritual feeling. He states, “To experience God in this natural setting, perhaps, is to experience the encounter with one’s own spirit. I sought to create a countainer that can allow for this type of encounter.” (Tadao, 87) This church is using for Wedding ceremonies nowadays. This building consists of two large and small overlapping squares, which are 33 and 49-foot long sides.  Those squares face a rectangular artificial pond, 80m by 42.7m in size, and L-shaped concrete wall wraps around the side of that pond and the back of this church. As L-shaped wall wraps around them, it makes the church separate from the hotel, which is located behind it. To access to the church, people round this freestanding concrete wall. While they are rounding the wall, they can hear the murmur of water, but the cannot see the water and it heightens people’s expectation. When people reach to an entry door, which is set under a cube enclosed with milky-white translucent glasses. He calls that cube as a container of light. For the inside of this cube, there are four large concrete crosses direct the view upwards. Then people become enveloped in the flood of light, which is composed of the strong, direct sunlight and soft, filtered light by translucent glasses.  Then the path leads people down to a dark and curving stairway until they confront to a cross and the dark blue pond. A steel cross is placed in the middle of the pond, and the open face of the chapel frames the entire view.  People could see the horizon line of the pond dividing the sky from the earth and appearance of landscape changing moment to moment. He states, “In that transition, visitors can sense the presence of nature and sanctity. Here, I sought to create a place where man and nature, through mutual sympathy, evolve toward the realm of the sacred.” (Tadao, 88) Through this building, people can experience the sympathy between nature and human with their five senses.

<Information References>

Ando, Tadao. TADAO ANDO : THE YALE STUDIO AND CURRENT WORKS. New York: Rizzoli, 1989. 86-89. Print.





<References for images>

1.Sketch images



Ando, Tadao. TADAO ANDO : THE YALE STUDIO AND CURRENT WORKS. New York: Rizzoli, 1989. 86-89.  Print.

2.Section, Elevation, Floor plan


3.Photographic visuals



Ando, Tadao. TADAO ANDO : THE YALE STUDIO AND CURRENT WORKS. New York: Rizzoli, 1989. 86-89.  Print.


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