The above image is of Tadao Ando giving directions during the construction of one of his most iconic structures, Ibaraki Kasugaoka, otherwise known as Church of the Light. The photo is part of a collection of behind the scenes images that documents the building’s construction starting from the groundwork to the finished product. Since Church of the Light is one of my favorite buildings, it was a privilege to see these records first hand during a special occasion at their archives a few years ago.
I was reminded of these images recently because in many ways I feel like I’m witnessing the arrival of another Tadao Ando masterpiece, this time right in my own city with the soon to be completed residential building on 152 Elizabeth Street – the first official Tadao Ando building in New York.
Every day we pass by the construction site on the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare on our way to work and get to slowly watch it rise. We saw the demolishing, the concrete being laid and now the framework is gradually coming up. It feels like the scenes from these archival images of Church of the Light from the 1980s are coming to life, only this time we get to see these scenes right before our very own eyes. It definitely seems like a pivotal moment in NYC’s architectural landscape, maybe comparable to how Osaka residents felt when Church of the Light was being constructed. Anyway, enjoy these rare images!