Tadao Ando's Elegant Simplicity

A splendidly simple new building by Tadao Ando proves that less can still be more

Richard Pare / Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

A new building by Tadao Ando featuring a diagonal wall.

Let's say Frank Gehry represents one end of the architectural spectrum, the shiny, exuberant, walls-that-do-the-hula end. The man on the opposite side--the serene, economical, subdued side--would have to be Japanese architect Tadao Ando. If Gehry's signature form is a whiplash, Ando's is a broad, flat plane. Gehry's best-known materials are titanium and glowing steel. Ando's is pale gray concrete.

Broad, flat, pale and gray may not sound like a formula for pleasure. But you don't know what pleasure is until you've seen Ando's Church of the Light near Osaka, Japan, where two intersecting slots in a rear wall admit sunlight in...

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