The Setouchi International Art Festival, gaining global attention in recent years, features key venues on Naoshima Island, such as the Chichu Art Museum, Benesse House, and ANDO MUSEUM, all works of the renowned architect Tadao Ando. Setouchi Retreat Aonagi is one of the iconic “Ando Architecture” structures in the Seto Inland Sea area, alongside these famous buildings. Originally partially open as a museum, it has been renovated into a small luxury hotel with a stunning view of the Seto Inland Sea.

Architect Tadao Ando

Born in Osaka, Tadao Ando is a self-taught architect who established the Tadao Ando Architect & Associates in 1969. His iconic works include the Rokko Housing, Church of the Light, FABRICA (Benetton Art School), Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Chichu Art Museum, Omotesando Hills (Junnkai Aoyama Apartments Reconstruction), Punta della Dogana, and Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre.

Ando’s accolades are extensive. In 1979, he received the Architectural Institute of Japan Award for the Sumiyoshi Row House. His other honors include the Alvar Aalto Medal (1985), the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1989), the Japan Art Academy Prize (1993), the Asahi Prize (1995), the prestigious Pritzker Prize (1995), the Praemium Imperiale (1996), the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (2002), and the Kyoto Prize. He was recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit in 2003, and in 2005 he received the UIA Gold Medal and was appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. His environmental contributions were acknowledged in 2006, and he was awarded the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Gold Medal, the Gotō Shinpei Prize, and the Order of Culture. More recently, he received the Richard Neutra Award (2012), the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France (2013), and the Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (2015).

Ando’s architecture, characterized by its creative use of natural light and strong geometric forms, has earned him international acclaim and a legacy as one of the most significant architects of our time.