Contextual Study 1.1: Atmosphere in Architecture (Tadao Ando – Wrightwood 659)

Previously 1920’s apartment building in Chicago transformed into architecture and socially engaged art gallery by Pritzker laureate, Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The space opened to the public in late 2018.

Wrightwood 659
image © jeff goldberg / esto
Wrightwood 659
image © jeff goldberg / esto
Wrightwood 659
image © jeff goldberg / esto

Techniques used to create atmosphere in images above include use of abundant daylight, very high ceiling, choice of very few finishing materials, straight lines and open spaces. The architect managed to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere by introducing bricks and natural wood, the glass balustrades keep the space open. The staircase winding up around a huge concrete post looks sturdy. Everything including brickwork and wood panes is straight and organised to perfection. This place seems to be inviting the visitors to follow the stairs up. It looks quiet and I believe there must be incredible echo with every step taken which would force the users to slow down and contemplate the interior and the art within.

Wrightwood 659 – 4th floor extension
image © jeff goldberg / esto
Wrightwood 659 4th floor extension
image © jeff goldberg / esto

The images above represent the interior of forth floor extension added to the building. There seems to be a serene atmosphere created by straight lines, natural light entering through wall to ceiling windows covering 3 external walls. In sunlight the inside is reflecting in the windows creating translucent image blending with outside and giving impression of a bigger space. Vertical window frames create straight lines of shadow, nearby tree tops seem to be entering the room which increases the calm atmosphere. The ceiling is build of black metal squares and contrasts with simple white lamps installed on white rails. There are concrete walls, floor and columns, but here they add to the calm atmosphere.

Images sourced from (accessed on 03.09.2019)

Resources: ( accessed on 03.09.2019) (accessed on 03.09.2019)

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