Friday, March 9, 2012 at 12:00PM
Timothy Hajnady in japan

We visit the Church of Light by Tadao Ando. A great way to finish my blog. This is my last post from Japan.




Inside felt very weird. Your sense of awareness heightens. The first thing you notice is the dead silence within the space, and the echoes from your footsteps on the wooden floors bouncing off the hard concrete walls. When you sit down, this sense of calmness washes over you. I was relaxed, yet highly focused simultaneously. Great piece of architecture.

Tadao Ando often uses Zen philosophies when conceptualizing his structures. One theme he expresses in this work is the dual nature of existence. The space of the chapel is defined by light, the strong contrast between light and solid. In the chapel light enters from behind the altar from a cross cut in the concrete wall that extends vertically from floor to ceiling and horizontally from wall to wall, aligning perfectly with the joints in the concrete. At this intersection of light and solid the occupant is meant to become aware of the deep division between the spiritual and the secular within himself or herself.

One feature of the interior is its profound emptiness. Many who enter the church say they find it disturbing. The distinct void space and absolute quiet amounts to a sense of serenity. For Ando the idea of 'emptiness' means something different. It is meant to transfer someone into the realm of the spiritual. The emptiness is meant to invade the occupant so there is room for the 'spiritual' to fill them.

"In all my works, light is an important controlling factor," says Ando. "I create enclosed spaces mainly by means of thick concrete walls. The primary reason is to create a place for the individual, a zone for oneself within society. When the external factors of a city's environment require the wall to be without openings, the interior must be especially full and satisfying." And further on the subject of walls, Ando writes, "At times walls manifest a power that borders on the violent. They have the power to divide space, transfigure place, and create new domains. Walls are the most basic elements of architecture, but they can also be the most enriching."


Japanese bible.


Sunday school extension.


Last dinner with Ari's family. We have some Japanese French.

Hope you enjoyed my journey through Japan. I'm heading home!

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