This is the first structure I have encountered by Tadao Ando. I must admit, I was never a huge fan of Ando, although I have always admired his use of concrete, which has become his signature. But after visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (also known as the Garden of Fine Arts) in Kyoto, I am starting to change my mind. There is so much more to the building than perfectly smooth and detailed concrete walls. The whole museum is a scenic procession of framed views, disruptive walls, and calculated openings. The replicas of famous art works are really just backdrops, so subtly ‘exhibited’ that one might not even notice them. What takes over is the building itself. Or I should rather say, the space delineated by the walls, since there really is no building. It’s a perfectly calculated composition of planes, all exposed to the elements. From the street, the space just funnels in, between the angled walls, strangely sucking the visitors in and down along the ramps. Once fully descended, there is a strange sense of emptiness and removal from the ‘ordinary’ life of the street above. It’s calming and frightening at the same time.