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  5. Tadao Ando Architect & Associates
  6. 1988
  7. AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando
AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando, © Tadao Ando
© Tadao Ando

© Ji Young Lee © Ji Young Lee Courtesy of WikiArquitectura Courtesy of WikiArquitectura +13

"You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see." This philosophy of Tadao Ando is ever apparent in his design, as he is celebrated for the attention he pays to nature and the relationship between interior and exterior spaces of his buildings.

© Ji Young Lee
© Ji Young Lee

Found sloping down towards a small river in a clearing of beech trees, the element of nature apparent in all the architecture of Tadao Ando initiates subliminal experiences in this Church on the Water in Tomamu, Japan.

© Tadao Ando
© Tadao Ando

To the west, the church is surrounded by hills and trees, and a resort hotel lies to the east. The church, with a form of two overlapping cubes, faces a large pond which steps down towards the small natural river.

© Ji Young Lee
© Ji Young Lee

The larger of the two cubes serves as the chapel, and meets the entrance of the smaller cube with a semi-circular spiral staircase. In order to separate the church from the hotel that rests behind it, a long, L-shaped wall runs alongside the south and east of the buildings that line the edge of the pond.

© Ji Young Lee
© Ji Young Lee

To gain entrance to the church, the visitor enters under a glass and steel cube at the northernmost end which houses four large concrete crosses that pull the gaze upwards. The path leads up and around these crosses, and then down the connecting dark spiral stairway into the larger cube of the chapel below.

© Tadao Ando
© Tadao Ando

Upon entering the chapel, visitors are struck with the view of the pond and surrounding trees and hillside through the operable glass wall. The other three walls are made of concrete, which also frame a steel cross placed in the middle of the pond.

© Ji Young Lee
© Ji Young Lee

Ando succeeded in his intentions to design a sacred space through the ritualistic and circuitous entry route, as well as with the L-shaped wall that distinguishes the church as a secluded and protected space apart from the hotel behind it. The natural environment around the church adds to the experience, especially in the months between December and April when the ground is covered in snow.

© Ji Young Lee
© Ji Young Lee

The chapel is one of the most desired wedding destinations for young Japanese women, and holds many weddings each year. The large glass wall is closed most of the time to protect against weather damage, but it is opened for the ceremonies which unites the guests with the seemingly infinite natural world outside of the windows.

Courtesy of WikiArquitectura
Courtesy of WikiArquitectura
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Megan Sveiven. "AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando" 20 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/97455/ad-classics-church-on-the-water-tadao-ando/>
Read comments

47 Comments

Travis LeBaron · November 19, 2013

This building has a remarkable design to it while blending itself with the landscape. It’s crazy to see how the style of churches has changed, from the past to the present as a more modern view with little detailed decoration. They now sort of look like a museum and not much of a church.

Kaori.S · April 21, 2012

Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://t.co/hSE1s9SM

Christian Connection · March 28, 2012

#Church on the Water http://t.co/wasiXfoa Have you seen this? It&#39s very cool. http://t.co/qf6jzgu8

spd · March 26, 2012

I really liked it,it was awsome.like your website.thank you

Dan Sellars · February 05, 2012

"It unites the guests with the seemingly infinite natural world outside of the windows" Tadao Ando, architect http://t.co/Y43CT0my

Wynand Viljoen · December 23, 2011

Architecture is the meaningfull creation of space - http://t.co/ViYZ4caE @ArchDaily

Andrea Villa · October 26, 2011

Church on the Water_Tadao Ando
http://t.co/vxoAalSi via @archdaily

SuperWaterMan · February 08, 2011

H2O News - AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/h6qw9H #water #eco #green

adf · December 29, 2010

It's so beatifull.

Milan Kramolis · December 23, 2010

just awesome #architecture /// AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://www.archdaily.com/?p=97...

aiaifraakc · December 22, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

Ron Geyer · December 22, 2010

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Arquitectura · December 22, 2010

RT @JuanManuelU #Arquitectura "Church on the Water / Tadao Ando" - http://bit.ly/hSoZ3E #Architecture #TadaoAndo... http://bit.ly/gWUk2z

Mark Gardner · December 22, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://t.co/EC6Lt0b via @archdaily

Andy Marshall · December 22, 2010

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Alexander Kircher · December 22, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

Holcim Awards US · December 21, 2010

An incredible design that does an amazing job of integrating the architecture with surrounding landscape. Truly incredible.

http://on.fb.me/holcim-awards

André Amaral · December 21, 2010

CLÁSSICO É CLÁSSICO AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://t.co/CYua3we via @archdaily

Home renovation · December 21, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

Home Renovation · December 21, 2010

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TO-FU · December 21, 2010

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ilaria defilippo · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando • http://bit.ly/hiIc3G #architecture #TadaoAndo #church #Japan

Alejandro Gutiérrez · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://www.archdaily.com/?p=97...

Paolo Tonon · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://goo.gl/fb/7F2Fi #adarchitectureclassics #religiousarchitecture

Gill+Dudwadkar Arch. · December 21, 2010

Beautiful in all seasons.. AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://t.co/A0ZJIhh love his work #architecture #design

Ohara · December 21, 2010

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Architect · December 21, 2010

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ruj rattanapahu · December 21, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

DEZIGN · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: ©Tadao Ando“You cannot simply put something new into a place. You... http://bit.ly/gFxSri

up_today_arch · December 21, 2010

Tadao's aproah is both minimal way and very close to nature...
Any way, for me he is more poetical than Zumtor...

Rain Q · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/faQzY1

Bruce Price · December 21, 2010

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Hashzeta · December 21, 2010

#z: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando #arch #public #church http://goo.gl/fb/Mtzh6

Corporate Punk · December 21, 2010

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Architecture+Molding · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: “You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to ab... http://bit.ly/eG82PD

Architekt R V Scholz · December 21, 2010

#Architekt #Calau AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: ©Tadao Ando“You cannot si... http://bit.ly/fwAzfx #in http://dy.cx/c03

spectives#design · December 21, 2010

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GR2TF · December 21, 2010

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Barry Maguire · December 21, 2010

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Engy · December 21, 2010

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Ilham Pradana · December 21, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

shubhiyuda wibawa · December 21, 2010

Konsep mimbarnya 11-12 sama Masjid di KBP :) RT @ArchDaily Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx

QYO · December 21, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

Cesar Gomez · December 21, 2010

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando http://archdai.ly/fc5vUx #architecture

arch_related · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: ©Tadao Ando“You cannot simply put something new into a place. You... http://bit.ly/gFxSri

Erik Joya · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: ©Tadao Ando “You cannot simply put something… http://goo.gl/fb/wccaq

Bocetos Digitales · December 21, 2010

AD Classics: Church on the Water / Tadao Ando: ©Tadao Ando“You cannot simply put something new into a place. You... http://bit.ly/eG82PD

···

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© Tadao Ando

AD 经典: 水之教堂 / Tadao Ando