Francesco Dal Co's Problem
Reprinted from the book he edited, which is actually a pretty good book.
Ando's project for the Japanese pavilion at the Seville expo (1992) received wide acclaim at the time and certainly, compared with the dreary architectural histrionics on show elsewhere at the Expo this was hardly surprising. Unfortunately, as at the Church on the Water, Ando once again fell into the trap of trying to create a deliberate effect using easily-assimilated suggestions, rather than designing with true integrity. Adopting materials of obviously 'traditional' character he showed off his usual constructional brilliance and went straight for monumental effect, shamelessly succumbing to the vulgarity which seems to typify all such occasions, playing to please the crowd by whipping up nostalgia in a scenario which could only be described as 'techno-idiocy'. Clowning for the amusement of the public, juggling with the most facile architectural signs fished straight out of 'history' his centerpiece, placed under the central opening of the Pavilion, was a far too obviously 'evocative' timber structure, meant to evoke the details of real Japanese temples. These concessions to a supposedly popular taste, for whatever reason, seem so self-consciously 'exotic' and 'primitive' that it is hard to imagine that this is the same Ando who at other times, in other places, has such a sophisticated dialogue with the genuine tradition. Ando's naivety at Seville is even more perplexing when one considers that at the same time he was building the Water Temple at Hyogo, one of his most poetic and original works.