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‘Everyone is young as long as they are alive, so challenge yourself'

‘Everyone is young as long as they are alive, so challenge yourself'

Posted April. 01, 2023 08:07,   

Updated April. 01, 2023 08:07


Japanese architect Tadao Ando spoke to his Korean fans during a visit to Korea before his exhibition titled "Tadao Ando - Youth" at the Museum SAN in Wonju. He told them that "everyone is young as long as they are alive, not just those in their teens and 20s," and encouraged them to live a life full of a challenging spirit during a press conference at the Museum SAN.

Born in Osaka in 1941, Ando is a self-taught architect who founded an architecture research institute called Tadao Ando Architect and Associates in 1969. In his early career years, he had to work on projects on cramped sites with tight budgets, but he overcame these challenges to become one of the world's most renowned architects.

The exhibition features over 250 representative works that encompass Ando's architectural world, including his early works from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s. Outside the museum, there is a sculpture by Ando in the form of a green apple called "Youth." Inspired by the American poet Samuel Ullman's poem of the same name, which says "Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind," the sculpture captures the spirit of challenge and is green and unripe, just like a green apple.

In May, Museum SAN, which Ando also designed, will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its opening. Ando shared his story with the late Lee In-hee (1928-2019), an advisor to the Hansol Group who commissioned him to design the museum.

"She asked me to create something that didn't exist in the world. I told her that nobody would come to this faraway place from the cities," the architect said. "But she said it was her role to make people come. And as it turned out, 200,000 people visit this museum every year."

"I don't know much about the politics and economy between Korea and Japan, but the two countries should keep cultural exchanges going." Ando had lunch with Korea's first lady, Kim Keon Hee, at a restaurant in Tokyo during the president's visit to Japan. The exhibition will run from April 1 to July 30, with admission fees ranging from 14,000 to 22,000 won.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com