The Church of Light
The Church of Light

The Church of light is situated in the tiny town of Ibaraki which is outside the sprawling metropolis of Osaka, Japan. By really placing importance on the wall and its consequence of the individual really contrasts and disagrees with many ideas of modernity in architecture since the 1920s. To Ando, the concrete walls play into his ideas the architecture should confront nature.

The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
The Church of Light

Case Study of The Church of Light

  • Building type : Christian Church
  • Date completed : 1989 ,1999
  • Site area : 838.8 sq mts
  • Building area : 113 sq. Mts
  • Structure : reinforced concrete
  • Architect : Tadao Ando


The Church of Light is located in the tiny town of Ibaraki, which is outside the sprawling metropolis of Osaka, Japan. However, the design began in January of 1987 and the finished design work was completed in May of 1988. Though in a small region outside of Osaka, it is a prime example of a piece of outstanding architecture tightly knit into the urban fabric.

Concept of The Church of Light

This church is seen as an area of retreat wherever the skin world is forgotten and also the nature is stressed abstractly. This church beckons the elemental simplicity of Christianity with its low school, nonetheless powerful style. the concept of the look was to use light-weight in a method that may strengthen the ability of spirituality. The penetration of sunshine within the chapel proves because the focus of the chapel wherever the seating is organized in a very manner facing the main focus.

Concept of The Church of Light


Based on terribly straightforward components like rectangular boxes and across planes, Ando modeled the church’s victimization light-weight and area. However, the most church, maybe a six x six x eighteen m box. Laterally crossed by a wall revolved fifteen degrees from the most axis of the area. Also, Ando’s benefit lies not solely in introducing this part obliquely. That brings dynamism to the serene orthogonal area of the area. However, to separate it many inches from the roof, permitting light-weight to filter horizontally and giving the impression that the roof is floating within the air. This diagonal wall additionally contains a 60 x 5.35 m glass slippy screen and the entree to the space, as in a very ancient Japanese shoji. Behind the altar there’s a cross-shaped gap, bathing the inside area with the ability and energy of shine.

The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
The layout of The Church of Light

Orientation of The Church of Light

The main chapel is oriented towards the southeast direction. This can be done so that the morning rays of the sun enter directly into the chapel. Also, the access to the compound was created deliberately indirect, not like several churches within the West. Guests area unit forced to enter the advanced at the northeast corner through a street via a courtyard that ends up in a corner of the church close to the minister’s house, inward to a region situated within the back of the church. From there one enters to little sq., that homes a circular bench. This area organizes access to most churches and adjacent chapels.

Also, Read The hill of the Buddha – Tadao Ando


Upon coming into the chapel the wall is straight away encountered and forces a left change into the wall permitting a right change into the most chapel area. The aims of the manipulation of the circulation sequence are accomplished jointly passes through the wall. At this specific purpose, one pivots around as they become altogether aligned with the crucifix of sunshine at the tip of the chapel. By keeping the number of openings to a minimum, the ability of the sunshine to penetrate from the crucifix is intense. The chapel consists of an oblong volume of 3 cubes that area unit cut by a wall at fifteen degrees that touches the opposite walls or ceiling of the chapel. Circulation into the area is controlled by the angular wall.

Material used in The Church of Light

The cold concrete blocks complement the heat of wood and also the penetrating light-weight transportation regarding Associate in Nursing expertise of solace and hope. whereas the area is primarily outlined by the concrete volume, wood is employed for all of the weather that one engages like the seating and also the floor.

Reused wooden planks
The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
Concrete: the main material of construction


The piece of furniture and also the severity of the grim close that homes. Also, it combined with the spirited and changing performance of sunshine and shadow, manages to supply stress and intensity alongside purity and tranquility. Which is in itself the essence of the spirituality that this area conveys.

The chapel of The Church of Light

Spatial Transition of The Church of Light

The area follows a hierarchy from the access to the seating and also the altar. Whereas the congregation space, the service areas, and also the workplace area flow within the sequence within the Sunday school.


Light is that the most vital elemental material Ando uses in his work. He had a quote stating, “In all my works, light-weight is a vital dominant issue. I produce swallowed areas principally by suggests that of thick concrete walls. the first reason is to form an area for the individual, a zone for oneself among society. Once the external factors of a city’s atmosphere need the wall to be while not openings. The inside should be particularly full and satisfying.” It should appear virtually not possible to inspire such an oversized quantity of feeling from an on the face of it fairly empty area. it’s as a result of the area is therefore empty that each one of the main focuses is placed on the sunshine as a style feature. there are no alternative distractions among the area to bring down from the reverence and significance the sunshine provides.

The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
Light in the Church of Light
The Light in the Church of Light
The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
Light in the Church of Light

Also, Read: Vaastu Shastra – Science of Architecture

Volumetric Composition of The Church of Light

The composition consists of pure geometric styles of the cuboid, the plane, and the cylinder in repetition.

Volumetric Composition

Brutalism and Spirituality

The building, made in concrete, has given up any ornament in favor of spirituality. Moreover, that provides light-weight, enhancing its holiness. Therefore the reduced budget at the short time of construction, most churches had no special elements aside from the concrete walls. And also the calculated openings, and doubtless, as a result of that, is that the church transmits such sturdy spirituality.

The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
The small, cramped entryway, leading to the sanctuary

Relation to Japanese Architecture

Nature is always a reference in classical Japanese architecture. Thus the fluidity of the connection between interior and exterior. Upon reaching the chapel and looking to the right, the window reveals a simple allegory to the cross, resting on greenery and water. Therefore the greenery can completely be the site of the church giving it a natural essence.

Relation to Japanese Architecture

User behaviour

User behavior in the church of light is mainly stimulated by the building itself. The building may look small but at every curve, the user may see a totally changed view of the building. For example, The distribution of space in the church of light totally controls by the angled wall.

The Church of Light by Tadao Ando
The single wall controls the circulation and shows a totally different view as the user enters thereby controlling the user behavior


This church is seen as an area of retreat wherever the skin world is forgotten. And also the flora and fauna are stressed in a very rather abstract manner, that is, Ando’s management of the light. This church beckons the elemental simplicity of Christianity with its low-tech, nonetheless powerful style. Also, the humbleness of the materials (rough concrete, metal, and glass) and piece of furniture. The poetry of pure mathematics increased by the dramatic use of sunshine offers special expertise of beauty and spirituality. Tadao Ando all over again demonstrates his mastery during this straightforward building, achieving an ideal unity of matter and spirit, reflective of the terrible essence of Christianity, however expressing it through the simplicity of Zen Buddhism.

Also, Read: Ashwinikumar Crematorium

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