Urban Development Born of Passion Discussion of Architecture With Tadao Ando vol.1

Discussion of Architecture​ ​With Tadao Ando Vol. 1

Making Omotesando Hills Possible and Changes Since More than a Decade Ago
Discussion of architecture with Tadao Ando, the architect who designed Omotesando Hills

An architectural talk with architect Tadao Ando, who designed about the change that has been going on more than 10 years before OMOTESANDO HILLS was created


The world-renowned architect involved in the design of Omotesando Hills is none other than Tadao Ando. We wanted to hear him once again discuss the building, area, and architecture in general…. Although preparing for a massive individual exhibition this fall at the National Art Center, Tokyo, and being busy every day, Tadao Ando found some free time in his schedule for us.

At first, the landowners were very much against the idea.​ ​
They said that they did not want an Ando structure​ ​
and questioned why it was necessary to redevelop the area.

First of all, the landowners were very opposed. I do not need Ando's architecture, why do I have to redevelop it? (Ando)

Tadao Ando:​ ​So, where should we talk? There. OK. And, what are we going to talk about?

—Omotesando Hills opened in 2006.That was twelve years ago this year. What were you picturing when you designed it?

Tadao Ando:​ ​元々ここには、同潤会の青山アパートメントが建っていました。1923年の関東大震災のあとにできた同潤会は、集まって住むことを時代に先駆けて提案した。その歴史をしっかりと残したいと思いました。今まであったものを活かすことは、建物の公共性につながりますから。"今まであったもの"とは、ここでは同潤会の歴史だし、坂道という地形だし、ケヤキ並木というわけです。約270mの長さになる道沿いの建物は低層に抑え、代わりに地下を約30m掘りました。それだけ掘るにはかなり費用もかかりますが、当時の森ビルの社長でいらした森稔さんが英断してくださった。そして〈同潤館〉という名前で一棟を残す。さらにファサードはケヤキを映し込むようガラス貼りにし、内部は、表参道の坂道を引き込むように、スロープで上り下りするつくりにしました。

—When you look back at the time, was it a struggle?

Tadao Ando:​ ​It was. At first, the landowners were very much against the idea. They said that they did not want an Ando structure and questioned why it was necessary to redevelop the area. Having been involved with ARK Hills and Roppongi Hills, however, Mori Building did not simply want to redevelop the area, it wanted to create a richer urban area through extensive dialogue with local residents. At first the situation was hopeless as the landowners were against the idea, but things gradually took shape through repeated discussions. That is because Minoru Mori passionately thought about the city. I think that spirit is communicated. Is that all you need?

—No, that was only five minutes. We have longer to go! (laughter) Could you tell us about aspects of Omotesando Hills that really stick out in your memory?

Tadao Ando:​ ​建物の前面に水が流れてるでしょう? これはある日森さんから電話がかかってきて、「表参道は(明治神宮へ向かう)参道だから、お清めの意味で水を流したい」と言われるわけです。「通りのあっち側にも水を流せ」と。"あっち"って、車道を挟んだ向かい側のことですよ(笑)。私が「森さん、あちらは他人の土地です。無理ですよ」と言ったら、「無理、無理って、そんなこと言っていては街はできていかん!」と。ちょっと聞くと完全に自己中の発言ですけれども、すごく大きな目で街を見ておられたからこその言葉だなと。街をつくっていくときには、あのくらいの構想力と大胆さがないといかんのでしょうね。

—What is Omotesando Hills like now?

Tadao Ando:​ ​The backside is covered with ivy, and it has grown really nicely. The Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments gradually improved as time passed. Therefore, I am really happy that Omotesando Hills is also steadily growing nicer. If you look from this side, it looks very similar to the scenery of the original Dojunkai apartments because it is also covered with zelkova trees.​ ​

—Mr. Ando, you are more open to the building changing than I imagined.

Tadao Ando:​ ​That is because, it would be boring without change. Buildings should be firmly maintained. Omotesando Hills is beautiful since it is scrupulously maintained, isn’t it? Because of that, it is more difficult for visitors to generate excess garbage. If a structure is carefully built, it will be carefully used. In that case, it will continue to change in nice ways while staying beautiful. I want Omotesando Hills to still firmly be here in a hundred years. That is what I think.

Writing = Sawako Akune
Photography = Satoshi Nagare
Editing = Naoya Sasaki

Discussion of Architecture With Tadao Ando Vol. 2​ ​

Discussion of Architecture With Tadao Ando Vol. 3​ ​

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