Weaving Architecture & Nature

Topics: Frank Lloyd Wright, Naoshima, Kagawa, Natural environment Pages: 9 (2330 words) Published: March 7, 2014
Weaving Architecture & Nature
Jessie Tang
Class 3 2013
Landscape from its beginnings has a man-made connotation with associated cultural process values. The idea of having a landscape does not suggest anything natural at all. Yet there are instances of projects where the landscape itself suggests natural connotations as though there is no interface between nature (site) and culture (architecture). In Chichu Art Museum, Tadao Ando made a radical decision to create an underground space to create minimal changes to the current natural environment, exposing only very basic geometries as the openings for the underground gallery. He transformed the site into a natural work of art, interfacing with the internal works of art. On the other hand, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater transforms the original site into a beautiful monumental landscape and brings nature into the house by using materials found on site, creating natural experiences through his architecture. Yet the ideas of the interface between Nature and architecture are translated very differently for the 2 projects. Ando’s idea of the interface was a stark exposed one while Wright’s was more clear and rational. This paper seeks to find out whether one of their interpretations questionable, or it is just harder to comprehend one than the other. Keywords: Nature; Integration; Art; Landscape; Culture


Figure 1. Illustration of the Phases of Museum Development

The concept of museums since the late 18th century evolved through 3 different phases (Figure 1). The first generation are mostly built by royalties as part of their collections, the second generation museums are more


particular in presenting artworks and collections in their raw form, where exhibition spaces are designed to segregate the works from any context using spaces that is pure and abstract. As art works progressed further, artists evolved to creating works that are more specific, works that interact with surroundings and also visitors. This concept itself brings out the definition of cultural landscape by Sauer (Sauer 1925, 46), where the art works themselves represents the cultural interference to the surrounding natural landscape. Here, the architect undertakes a special role as the direct influencer to the landscape. The Chichu Art Museum by Tadao Ando is one of the first of the 3rd development of museums, specially designed to house the works of Claude Monet, Walter de Maria and James Turrell, or on a higher level, to integrate their works with the natural environment. The way Tadao Ando created his cultural landscape, interfacing with nature with his strong use of man made materials concrete and glass, gives us a new perspective on how one interfaces with their surroundings.

The concept emerged due to a similarity between the artists in the history of art - they question modern art and architecture and the “quality of aesthetic experience” in a three-dimensional space. By congregating them into one space could form “a place for aesthetic experience” (Hatakeyama and Miyamoto 2005, 83).

Figure 2. Naoshima, Japan (Source:

The chosen site (Figure 2) was based on the likes of the initial client, Soichiro Fukutake whom had a special liking towards the views of Seto Inland Sea and other islands from a place in Naoshima (Hatakeyama and Miyamoto 2005, 83). The site was a good match with a three dimensional space envisioned by Monet - a space that by itself is a piece of art giving birth to the idea of a space that blends art and architecture together seamlessly. Hence instead of a monumental building sitting on the site, the building took the form of


an underground building with no apparent form. The visitor world experience each artist’s space, one by one independently, and was prevented from looking at the building as a whole. Upon gathering all...

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