ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Tadao

POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China

Located in Jiading District, a suburb northwest of central Shanghai, Poly Grand Theatre stands proudly by Yuanxiang Lake.  The 330 x 330 x 113 foot theatre box is wrapped in a transparent skin of glass, with tunnels and footbridges puncturing the simple geometry to establish bold visual statements on its elevations.  This simple but striking architecture is one of the newest completed projects by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

It took us quite some time taking the metro to reach Jiading.  Once arrived at the closest metro station, we hopped on a taxi to reach the theatre.  Situated right by Yuanxiang Lake, the theatre stood out as a centerpiece in the new town among other construction sites and new condominiums.  We took our time to walk around the building, hoping to see the lighting effect after dusk.  It was about 5:30pm when we got there.  After a short tour of the building exterior spaces, we decided to wait on an observation bridge in front of the theatre.  We waited for about an hour until 7pm, then we figured out that the lights might not come on as there didn’t seem to have any performance happening that evening despite it was a Saturday night.  We returned to the theatre entrance and went straight to the brightly lit ticket entrance.  The staff inside confirmed our worry.  Since there was no scheduled performance that night, the lighting effect would not be turned on.

We left the theatre disappointingly.  There was no taxi around.  In fact we could hardly see any passing pedestrians in this new town.  We walked for about half an hour to reach the closest metro station, passing by a few newly constructed shopping centres along the way.  We were tired and hungry.  A big hearty meal would be the only way to console our disappointment.

DSC_1317Poly Grand Theatre was a clean box with cheese-like holes.

DSC_1320A new tower stood right behind the theatre.

DSC_1324The grotto-like space can be served as semi-outdoor performance space.

DSC_1326Base trim of the facade curtain wall.

DSC_1333Elevated bridges and platforms provide an important exterior common space.

DSC_1346Front elevation and reflection of Poly Grand Theatre.

DSC_1367Occasional passerby provided a sense of scale.

DSC_1377Landscape features and observation bridge in front of the theatre.

DSC_1382Walking up the observation bridge.

DSC_1395 1The end of the observation bridge provided a great spot to admire the architecture of the theatre.

DSC_1398Observation bridge at night.

DSC_1410The lighting effect didn’t come on because there was no scheduled performance during our visit.

DSC_1417Street elevation of the theatre.

DSC_1426New shopping centre on our way walking back to the metro station.

 

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Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


Day 9 – CHURCH OF LIGHT, Osaka (大阪市), Japan

If there was one architect that redefined Japanese architecture during the 1990s it would be Tadao Ando. And if there was one project that best exemplified the essence of Ando’s architecture it would be Ibaraki Kasugaoka Church, or the Church of Light. Located 25km northeast of Osaka, Ando’s Church of Light is a pilgrim destination in the world of architects and designers. The precise use of natural light, minimalist layout, smooth pour in-situ concrete walls, modular spatial proportions, and zenist interplay of void and solid converges into an architectural masterpiece with a volume no bigger than a small house.

The Church of Light opens only on specific days of the week, usually on Sunday but sometimes also Wednesday and Saturday.  Visiting the church requires advanced reservation online. It was about 20 minutes of train ride from Osaka Station to Ibaraki, a residential neighborhood in the outskirt of Osaka. From Ibaraki station, it was another short local bus ride to reach the closest bus stop to the Church of Light.  It was a peaceful Sunday when we visited, we found our way to the main entrance of the church complex, which was consisted of the Church of Light and the Sunday School, a latter addition to the complex also designed by Ando. We registered with the staff at the reception of the Sunday School, and was then led into the famous Church of Light. Once inside, we had all the time we needed to examine the architecture, take photos, and take in the spiritual atmosphere.

We stayed at the church for over an hour, until it was time for us to return to Osaka Tennoji Station, where we would take the Haruka Express for the Kansai Airport. Nine days of Osaka, Kobe, and the spiritual Kumano Kodo gave us a refreshing spring break, with joyful memories from the splendid cherry blossoms, spiritual scenery, fantastic seafood, to poetic architecture.

DSC_1137Osaka Station, with its recently added canopy.

01We got off the local bus at the community park at Ibaraki, where the Church of Light was just around the corner.

02The church complex with the Sunday School on the left and Church of Light on the right, both designed by Tadao Ando.

03Entrance pathway to the church.

04Slit windows and architectural concrete are the common design language in Ando’s works.

05Interior of the Sunday School.

06Overall interior view of the Church of Light.

07The iconic slit opening of cruciform in the Church of Light.

08The large pipe organ at the back of the church.

09Indirect natural light is introduced into the space through an opening that is created by a slant wall at a 15 degree angle.

10Side view of the cruciform opening at the altar.

11Glazed wall meeting concrete wall at the church entrance.

12The curved vestibule connecting the Sunday School and Church of Light.

13A small outdoor gathering space between the school and the church, occupied by a man in suit playing badminton with a young lady. It was lovely to see how people making use of the space and we were both touched by this scene, for some reasons.

IMG_2407After a thorough visit to the Church of Light and a relaxing stroll in the laid back neighbourhood of Ibaraki, we returned to the Osaka Station. The station was busy and filled with people but somehow everything remained in good order.

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Read other posts on 2015 Kansai…
Day 1.0 – Kansai Japan 2015
Day 1.1 – Hanami, Mount Yoshino 
Day 1.2 – Feast under the Shades of Sakura, Mount Yoshiko
Day 2 – A Day in Kobe
Day 3 – A Day in Central Osaka
Day 4 – Tanabe – Prelude of the Kumano Kodo
Day 5.1 – Takijiri to Takahara, Kumano Kodo
Day 5.2 – Takahara to Tsugizakura , Kumano Kodo
Day 5.3 – Minshuku Tsugizakura, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.1 – Tsugizakura to Mikoshi-Toge Pass, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.2 – Mikoshi-Toge Pass to Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.1 – Ryokan Adumaya, Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.2 – Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.4 – Wataze Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.1 – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.2 – Kii Katsuura, Kumano Kodo
Day 9 – Church of Light, Osaka


DAY 2 – A DAY IN KOBE, Kobe (神戸市), Japan

Before we headed south to Kumano Kodo, we based ourselves in Osaka.  From Osaka, we were spoiled with options of destinations for day trips.  On our first day we picked Yoshino.  On our second we headed northwest to the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe (神戸).  In 1850s the port of Kobe had been opened to the world, and since then, the city had developed into one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan city.  Two decades ago the city experienced one of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan in the 20th century, the Great Hanshin Earthquake.  Thousands lost their lives and uncounted buildings damaged.   Today, except a few spots where the damage was preserved as memorials, much of the damaged neighborhoods in Kobe has been fully restored and rejuvenated. 1JR is probably the most efficient transportation in Japan but may not be the most economical to cover the short distance between Osaka and Kobe.  From the Kansai Airport, we purchased the 1-day Hanshin Tourist Pass for only 500 yen for unlimited rides on Hanshin trains between Osaka and Kobe. 2We arrived at around lunch time. We headed straight to Ishida, a teppanyaki restaurant that we found online near Sannomiya train station for lunch. It was a Sunday afternoon and the small lanes north of Sannomiya were very quiet.  Inside Ishida, however, the scene was quite different, and we were lucky to take the last two seats without reservations. 3We sat along a L-shaped teppanyaki table side by side with other guests.  The chef carefully prepared our beef and the side vegetables on the hot stainless teppanyaki table grill.  We ordered two kinds of steaks:  the Kobe A5 steak and a wagyu ribeye.  Both were top quality but the Kobe steak with its well mixed marble texture had an exceptional buttery flavor. 4After the fine lunch, we headed south to the Motomachi neighborhood near Chinatown.  In the area, a number of old buildings were redeveloped into atmospheric retail complexes of designer boutiques, craft shops, and artist studios. 5We then took a Hanshin train to Iwaya Station for Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.  The main purpose for the visit is to check out the building designed by architect Tadao Ando. 6Completed in 2002, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art was dominated by Ando’s signature use of architectural concrete. 7Concrete walls, glass halls, spiral feature stair, and thin slab roofs create a solid piece of architecture, in a way echoing the city’s rise from the devastating earthquake of 1995. 8Exterior spaces on various levels of the building roof are used for roof terraces and outdoor art display areas. 9Roof terraces of various sizes and shapes provide interesting experience for visitors. 10A section of the museum exhibit is devoted to the architecture of Tadao Ando.  Architectural models of various scales, including this model of the 4×4 House in Kobe. 11The large overhanging eaves were quite visible when we exited the museum from the side facing the sea. 12Along the seaside promenade, Ando also designed a number of architectural features in the park adjacent to Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art. 13Next time, we will definitely visit the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum. The museum was designed to commemorate the devastating earthquake in 1995.  The museum aims to educate the public about disaster prevention and to remember the city’s  loss in the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. 15Before we caught the evening train back to Osaka, we joined the queue in front of a local butcher, Moriya, for some deep fried snacks. 14It was almost 7:00pm, and the store was about to close. There were that many choices left. We ordered two kinds of croquette and just like the other locals, ate them on the street right in front of the store.

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Read other posts on 2015 Kansai…
Day 1.0 – Kansai Japan 2015
Day 1.1 – Hanami, Mount Yoshino 
Day 1.2 – Feast under the Shades of Sakura, Mount Yoshiko
Day 2 – A Day in Kobe
Day 3 – A Day in Central Osaka
Day 4 – Tanabe – Prelude of the Kumano Kodo
Day 5.1 – Takijiri to Takahara, Kumano Kodo
Day 5.2 – Takahara to Tsugizakura , Kumano Kodo
Day 5.3 – Minshuku Tsugizakura, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.1 – Tsugizakura to Mikoshi-Toge Pass, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.2 – Mikoshi-Toge Pass to Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.1 – Ryokan Adumaya, Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.2 – Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.4 – Wataze Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.1 – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.2 – Kii Katsuura, Kumano Kodo
Day 9 – Church of Light, Osaka