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Copy of 4X4 House, Tadao Ando Building Analysis

An indepth analysis of Tadao Ando's 4X4 house in Kobe, Japan

Mag Nguyen

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of 4X4 House, Tadao Ando Building Analysis




“A concept, whether a rationally explicit statement or a subjective demonstration, establishes an order, a field of inquiry, a limited principle.” Steven Holl.

“Logical reasoning deals with the real while the senses demand the architects imagination” Tadao Ando.
An important part of the concept of the 4x4 House, is not only the light and the water but also the sound of the wind. The house combines a rigorous use of geometry with the interest of creating an architecture that in this case becomes part of the sea. Tadao Andos’ uses in his designs the “basis of geometry”: squares, circles, triangles and rectangles. His works are impressively complex but yet demonstrate a quality of simplicity. He always searches to achieve equilibrium between the building and the natural surroundings. For Ando it is truly important that the individuals who occupy his buildings have a spiritual and intellectual experience such as the one when reading a poem or listening to music. Ando buildings “stand for purity, serenity and strength” …and “are a blend of Eastern and Western sensibilities” (Louie). The point of this concept is reflected in the see through shifted cube that is located in the uppermost level of the house and that connects the individual with the see.
“I try to use the forces in an area to restore the unity between house and nature (light and wind)” Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando experiences space with the contrast of shadow and light. Light is a key part of his identity as a designer. He believes that architecture plays a moral role in a human’s daily life. It is an inspiration, but also a means of protection. He wants people to philosophical experiences with his spaces. His goal is for people to come into his spaces to reclaim and nourish their spirit and souls. Ando combines nature and art in his designs, hence the use of concrete and glass as his signature materials. Using concrete and glass, he can create spaces that combine outside elements and inside elements both.

“A known or assumed premise, benchmark, point or plane of origin from which inference can be drawn” (Potter. 46)
The two implied lines that run vertically down the building create the datum in which the grid of the building is based off of. The two lines create a think middle line in which emphasizes the verticality of the building.
The horizontal lines across the façade of the building create a visual separation of each 4x4 meter cube while the vertical lines divide the building into 1/3rd sections for proportion and scale.
“Regulating lines constitute a design tool that, like the golden section, are used as an invisible geometrical scaffolding on which to order and align the interrelating incidence of architectural mass and its constituent elements” (Potter.155).
“Every part is disposed to unit with the whole, that it may thereby escape from its incompleteness.”
Leonardo da Vinci

The house follows a 3x1x1 proportion scale. Visually, the offset cube at the top of the building looks larger than the others, however, it is actually the same size. The organization of the building is similar to the Ken organization system whish is additive. The overall space is a plan is an intimate, personal space, which follows along with the scale of the building.
Architecturally speaking hierarchy is an ordering device that arranges form, space and function, among others. Establishes priority scales to a ranking degree of importance. (Porter.95)
The 4x4 cube that is shifted by a meter across from the main vertical axis establishes hierarchy. This offset cube and its see-through windows have a higher level of importance in the design. The cube produces a visual scale that makes the visual illusions of it having a bigger scale even though it has the same scale (4x4) as the other cubes that compose the tower.
“Stress or prominence given to an element by means of contrast, anomaly or counter-point”(Ching. 54).
“A deviation from the normal or expected form, order, or arrangement” (Ching. 54).
“Opposition or juxtaposition of dissimilar elements… to intensify each elements properties” (Ching. 54).
Counter point:
“A parallel but contrasting element in a narrative or concept” (Ching. 54).

The offset cube that creates this visual scale it is also emphasize and point up by the main vertical axis that creates an imaginary path that leads to it. This cube it’s the counter point of the design and creates a contrast that emphasizes its properties. The anomaly is created by arrangement with the shifted cube that creates asymmetry in an expected symmetry. The vertical main axis is emphasized by doors, windows, and lines in all the views of the building.
“The act or process of reaping formal elements or motifs in a design” (Ching. 55).
“Movement characterized by patterned repetition or alteration of formal elements or motifs in the same or a modified form” (Ching. 55).

The design of the tower is form by the repetition of four (4) 4x4 cubes that create an elegant and simple building.
Repetition is achieved with the pattern created by the way in which Ando works with the raw concrete and the controlled holes. This repeated texture provides a particular and delicate rhythm to the composition of the facade of the 4x4 house. He does this in the exteriors as well as in the interior space.

The 4x4 House is used as a private home. Because the plot
of land that it was built on was damaged from a previous
earthquake, adaptations were made and the space
is small and personal.
The approach of the building is oblique, and the entrance is vertical. The path configuration is a linear grid emphasized by a tall stairway that is continuous from the first floor all the way to the forth floor on the left side of the building. The circulation of the space goes along with Ando’s use of materials. The basement, the first, and the second floor are all completely enclosed. However, the third floor is open on one side and the forth floor is open on two sides.
The focal point of the interiors derives from Tadaos Andos concept for this house that is the integration of the individual with the sea. Virginia MacLeod the author of the book Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture states, “The landscape, framed by a full height glazing within this spectacular double-Height cube, is a panorama sweeping over the sea…” (42).
The reflection of the light and the shadows of the window add new lines to the design of the interior space, which is a constant in Tadao Andos designs. The scale of the interior space (4x4) creates a personal space in relation to the dimensions of the human body. In the ground level are located: the entrance and bathroom, in the first floor the bedroom, in the second floor the studio, in the top floor the kitchen and dining areas and under the ground level the basement. This arrangement is the architectural solution to space and geotechnical limitations (the site its subject to erosion result of the Hanshin Earthquake) (MacLeod. 42).

Like in most of his buildings Ando used reinforce concrete for the structural system and exposed concrete for the exterior walls. The use of concrete is a characteristic with which Ando’s buildings are recognized by people around the world. A curious anecdote about the 4x4 House, is that Ando had two built first the tower in concrete and then its twin in wood in order to prove that the wood tower was really design by him (Nussaume. 196).
Ando used: Concrete For the exterior floor, Steel and aluminum for the windows, wood flooring (oak), exposed concrete and painted gypsum board for the interior walls and exposed concrete for the ceiling.

4x4 House, Tadao Ando – Amanda, Leslie, and Natascha

Building Background
Overall Composition
Symmetry and Balance
Spatial System and light

Building Concept
Emphasis/ Anomaly
Repetition and Rhythm
Interior Space

Designer’s philosophy
Regulating Lines
Proportion and Scale

All: Indvidual Reflection/conclusion


Ching, Francis. A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. Second edition .Ching:
Books”, n.d. 2012. Print.

Ching, Francis. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. Ching: Books”, n.d. Third Edition. John Willy and Sons, Inc.2012. Print.

Porter, Tom. Archipeak: An Illustrated guide to architectural term. Great Britain. 2004. Print.

Nussaume, Yann. Tadao Ando. Spain. 2009 Birkhauser Verlag AG. Print.

Louie, Elaine. “CURRENTS; Designs That Bridge Two Cultures.” The New York Times, October 3, 1991, sec. Home & Garden. Web
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