This thesis explores the architecture of Tadao Ando and Peter Zumthor by comparing their philosophies with the approach of ‘Critical Regionalism’; contextually relevant humanistic architecture. The primary focus of this thesis is to question how Ando and Zumthor share an ethos sensitive to immediate surroundings and to the multi-sensory experience of built environments, despite very different uses of materials in their tectonics.
The opening chapter sets a framework for discussion by researching the definition of Critical Regionalism through architectural theory, specifically focusing on the connection between materials and the Regionalist approach.
This discussion of Ando and Zumthor’s materiality and philosophy in parallel with Critical Regionalism is the topic of chapters two and three. There is a clear distinction between the architecture of Ando and Zumthor; a consistent material palette and a widely varying one, respectively. However, the similarities in ethos and intention that extend beyond this obvious difference are significant. Both establish particular responses to site-specific culture, climate, topography and history, with a connection to ‘humanistic sensualities’: art and craft, light and nature, poetics and spirituality.
The thesis concludes with an understanding of the impact and potential of materials to be both a strong or gently expressive tectonic language that creates authentic and contextually relevant built environments.