Tadao Ando – Dessins Emaki

Dessins Emaki, an exhibition by Tadao Ando in association with Château la Coste and Yoshii Gallery. Personal sketchbooks by the internationally acclaimed architect are featured in a specially designed indoor pavilion. The sketches present in the distinct emaki style, and feature both realised and un-realised projects by Tadao Ando, including Château La Coste, the François Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Calder Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and the Church of the Light.

These sketchbooks depict the pure visions of Ando, unburdened by technical, functional, and economic concerns. They reveal Ando’s personal struggle to find the intersection of his imagination and a constructed building, and ilustrate Ando’s unique understanding of the relationship between architecture and nature. The fusion of strong lines and natural elements within his initial concepts foreshadow the eventual interior and exterior harmony of his realised structures in which concrete, glass, and wood are balanced by light, water, greenery and texture.

Within his sketchbooks, different elements combine to create a coherent narrative of architectural creation. These are embellished with colour, text, and photographs. Inspired by the fluidity of traditional Japanese hand-scrolls, the sketchbooks are created in the emaki style, which is a process of joining pages at the seams. The pages can then be folded up along these seams like an accordion. When more surface area is necessary, pages are easily added to the end of the sketchbook, allowing Ando to expand his ideas infinitely. The end result is a comprehensive and chronological diary of a project that can be viewed continuously yet is still contained in one volume. Ando’s longest sketchbook, created for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, consists of twenty sections and runs the length of one hundred and three inches. 


Tadao Ando was born in Osaka, Japan in 1941, and founded the Tadao Ando Architect & Associates in 1969. Ando currently lives and works in Osaka. In June 2011, Tadao Ando inaugurated three architectural pavilions at Château La Coste in Provence. He has been honoured with The Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 2002, and Gold Medal of Union Internationale des Architectes in 2005, among many others. Ando is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He was also a visiting professor at Yale, Columbia, UC Barkley, and Harvard Universities. His buildings can be found throughout the world, and his drawings have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1991), the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1993), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (1998).