Exploring Japan - Tadao Ando's Garden of Fine Arts in Kyoto

M Robinson @oenMay 2018 · 2 min read


I'm a massive architecture fan and have always admired the works of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. There's something about his monolithic concrete buildings that really play with my senses and intrigue me. For many his style might be seen as a little flat and boring, but I think the way in which he uses angles to create shadows and different layers is quite incredible. It's only recently that I've noticed he uses sound as a tool, creating these large open spaces that echo in a spiritual manner.

When in Kyoto I visited the Garden of Fine Arts that's adjacent to the Botanical Garden and was built with the intention of being able to appreciate paintings outdoors. There are eight masterpieces exhibited that have been reproduced by craftsmen on porcelain panels. The size of the artworks was really impressive and it's a nice space to photograph, it was also extremely cheap to visit and peaceful to walk around. The water rushing past your ears and down the walls also adds to the sensation of it being a spiritual place.

I have plenty more Tadao Ando buildings to show off in a new series that I'm making for a book releasing in the summer, so you should see some of them crop up here when I get time to edit them. Let me know what you think of this architecture in the comments section. Do the angles, shapes and shadows also interest you? It would be nice to hear your thoughts and speak to some of my followers. I look forward to discussing it below!















More from my Travels:

Exploring Japan - A Visit to Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Exploring Japan - Yuzuruha Shrine in Kobe
Exploring Japan - A Visit to Kosetsu Museum of Art Garden
Exploring Darwin - A Trip to Crocodylus Park
Exploring the UK - Tate Modern Details
Exploring Finland - Walking Around Helsinki

All photos captured by Mark Robinson.

Please follow me @oen for more interesting art, design and travel content

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Great pictures. Thanks for the tips. The geometry seems indeed very attractive. Definitely a place I would be willing to visit during my next visit to Kyoto. Sounds like a nice way to break the monotony of visiting traditional temples/shrines/gardens.


Definitely. There's some interesting architecture off the beaten track. Kobe/Osaka is home of Tadao Ando so you can find gems nearby in the Kansai area. I guess Naoshima is a little far but it's a pretty nice island to explore :) Good luck on your next visit!


I just looked at some more pictures of Tadao Ando's creations, and I must say that his style is impressive. I especially liked his church of light :)

This type of architecture is quite popular in Japan, isn't it? We have a massive concrete hotel in Sofia that was designed by another Japanese architect - Kisho Kurokawa.

Thanks for sharing this @oen!


Yeah, it's quite popular I think. It's funny how this concrete style has become the style of Japan in recent years. I wonder why. Interesting isn't it. Thanks for your comment :)


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I'm probably a little old-fashioned)) This style of architecture is interesting, but, as I observe from photographs, this style has its drawbacks. He, according to my modest estimate - is short-lived. I see the walls covered with mold. I build my house from natural stone and pay attention to small details. Architects today are trying to come up with something new, but everything good was invented even before they were born. And no one can repeat it today. I do not want to talk about the acropolis, or the pyramids)) Versailles, is not it better to save the paintings in dry rooms, in a gilded framework ..... I understand that the new generation wants progress in everything, but if you look closely, this is a regress, and very strong. Well, I can not fit into my head the black square of Malevich next to the works of Rembrandt, or Raphael ..... so I see it ..... I apologize for the bad English.


Thanks for your opinion. Interesting to see what others have to say about this architecture. The style has its drawbacks but I think this is a public space in the outdoors so it was a creative way of showcasing some art for people to see and enjoy. :)


Interesting art-chitecture. Your photos capture it nicely.


haha yeah! art-chitecture is a good word for it ;) thanks for your comment @coldsteem!


These shapes are fantastic and fascinating to look at. I especially like that long glass pond with the swirling paint.


Thanks for your comment. Yeah, it's a really nice with the contrast of the water and concrete.


Wow, this reminds me of some middle eastern building instead of one found not in japan. Love the architecture, would love to visit one day


Japan is definitely Number 1 in everything. The future now be seen in Japan.


This is awesome. Resteemed!