“The essence of architecture is to open the hearts of the people,” says Japanese minimalist master Tadao Ando, “and to move them in such a way that they are glad to be on Earth.”
Tadao Ando: From Emptiness to Infinity, a 2013 documentary by German filmmaker Mathias Frick, offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the work and processes of Ando, the only architect to have won the discipline’s four most prestigious prizes: the Pritzker, Carlsberg, Praemium Imperiale, and Kyoto Prize.
Ando’s unprecedented use of concrete, wood, water, light, space, and natural forms creates a Zen-like connection between Japanese traditions and contemporary modernism. His creative use of natural light and his buildings’ ability to seamlessly evoke the contours of the landscape are his calling cards, and give Ando's award-winning homes, churches, museums, apartment buildings and cultural spaces an open, inviting quality that belies the structures' minimalist construction.
"To change the dwelling is to change the city and to reform society,” Ando says, noting that his deceptively simple buildings are meant to give people space to live and unfold in a contemplative manner. By taking viewers into the architect’s thought processes and motivations, the documentary delves into the nature of how those changes have been woven throughout Ando’s four-decade-long career.