Archive for the ‘Williamstown’ Category

An Ando WC

02/06/2008


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Ando in a Massachusetts forest

02/06/2008

Tadao Ando’s first building of wood in the US, an addition to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. will open on June 22. I made a pilgrimage.
You start out in the woods. You leave the existing Clark Art Institute, with its Renoirs and Sargents, Degas, Homers and much more, and you re-enter nature. You walk up a path, through the woods, to the new ‘Stone Hill Center’. Think of it as a chapel, in the woods, for art.


At the beginning of your journey, you don’t see it. Like walking up the Acropolis to the Parthenon. And then you catch a view.


You walk around it, not directly up to it, as at the Acropolis. With delayed gratification you desire this place more. And slow unfolding gives the materials a chance to sing to you. A siren song.

Just simple interlocking planes of concrete and wood,


steel and glass, solid and voids, air, light and shadow.

As you walk past all this, ever ascending a hill, halfway around the handsome structure, you admire it, from all views. Finally, you are offered a void in a concrete wall (above.) Here you might enter. Of course, no entrance is given to you. Straight ahead is a solid wood wall. No door. You pause ever-so-slightly before approaching; and think about what you are entering. And how much it is worth to you. You have faith, and by now you believe in this place because you’ve worked for it. So move forward. Once “through” the concrete wall, you turn to the right, and this is what you see,


One last chance to remain outdoors. But it’s too late for that. You move forward a few steps and turn 90 degrees left. There’s the opening. The way in.

I’ll post on the interior, with more photos, in a little while.

Inside I found serenity, joy, and mystery.


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