Friday, March 4, 2011

week 23 Church on the Water by Tadao Ando

We wrapped up our second evening at Tomamu resort with a special treat - at least to me - a tour of the Church on the Water by Tadao Ando. The Church is located within the grounds of the resort and is primarily reserved for private weddings and events, but is open to the public for a few select hours each day.

Tadao Ando, sometimes referred to as "the Architect of Silence, is a master of creating peaceful places in the midst of bustle and rush." (So true.) His architectural designs are simple, minimal, playing with the basic principles & elements of design... and savory to the people, like me, who appreciate them the most! I first became familiar with Tadao Ando's work in college. He designed the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, which was completed the year I started attending college in Fort Worth - and is still my favorite museum in the DFW metroplex :)

The Church on the Water is positioned on the side of a hill. As you approach, the Church is crowned with 4 large crosses on the roof of the building, laid out so that you actually descend staircases wrapping around these four crosses and pass each cross as you walk down into the Church. We went at night, so we were able to enjoy the dramatic lighting design as well.

Church on the Water by Tadao Ando, rooftop crosses
Once inside, you find yourself in an open one-roomed chapel, with concrete walls, floor, and ceiling, with the exception of one wall that is entirely glass, looking out upon a pond with a large cross statue. Tadao Ando's trademark is the finely crafted concrete construction that he painstakingly oversees from start to finish. Unlike the rough surface of a sloppily poured concrete sidewalk or stairway that most people mentally relate to when thinking of "concrete" - the concrete used in his buildings is treated, polished, and finished so that the end result is a concrete surface that feels more like silk.

The chapel was simple, elegant, minimalist. And the view was lovely, quiet, peaceful. It was harder to enjoy the atmosphere with a room full of tourists beside me, but even still - it was wonderful. Taking advantage of the natural beauty outside, and creating an interior space to enjoy that, to harmonize with it. For the privileged few who are invited to weddings and events in this place - that would be the real opportunity to see it!

The cross statue just outside the wall of glass, is said to have a double reflection in the reflecting pond below at one point each day - so that as you look at the cross, you can see it's reflection on both the left and right. I believe there is also a walking path around the reflection pond, but we did not walk this at night in the snow and cold. I am certain that this Church would be enjoyable for new and different beauty during each season of the year. I imagine that Ando designed the pews and limited furnishings for the interior as well. 

Japanese Bible
View sitting in the front pew on the right-hand side of the chapel,
looking out at the frozen pond with cross statue and wooded mountain beyond.
All in all, I would happily return to this Church regularly to admire the lighting, the architecture and it's play with each season. 

1 comment:

  1. I would love to visit with you! Hope Jason goes with you next time. Enjoy each day as much as you can.