CONFERENCE PAVILION - VITRA 1993
The Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando was the architect’s first work outside Japan. The centrepiece of the building consists of a sunken courtyard that seems to conceal the surrounding environment and lends the building an almost monastic tranquillity and intimacy. From here, a series of narrow, carefully proportioned corridors and ramps lead to an assortment of conference rooms. The meticulously finished exposed concrete and wood surfaces reinforce the atmosphere of calm and concentration exuded by the building. They attest to the inspiration Ando takes from such architects as Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn while simultaneously evincing his roots in traditional Japanese architecture. The synthesis of western and eastern architectural traditions that Tadao strives for in his buildings is also manifested in the distribution of light and the embedding of the building in the surrounding landscape, which recalls the austerity of Japanese Zen gardens.