Build My Ranch, Tadao Ando

If thinking about architectural projects that have left their sign to our minds, designer/director Tom Ford‘s personal ranch designed by the rigorous and self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando surely positions high on that list.

The complex is located in the arid lands of Santa Fe, New Mexico, setting place for several western movies, and continuing the tradition of architecture connected to the fashion world and its characters. Polyhedric Tom Ford is Texan by adoption and to him New Mexico has always been a very spiritual place, a mind-set that has formed part of his aesthetic, and always meant freedom to him. For his project, Ando took inspiration from the context of enveloping portions of barren land and turning them into monumental riding facilities, integrating them with the surrounding nature.

The ranch Las Cuadras plays different roles with the architecture, landscape, Mexican customs (the figure of the Gaucho), local climatic conditions and light, a very violent light, playing with the thick, strong walls that Ando designed. Also the use of rustic color palette fills the space with tones of the earth and the blues of the sky and water.

Other additional solution is Ando’s skillful control of circulation, the contrast between curved volumes and square-shaped parts, and between camouflaged materials and solid concrete, which are a part of a method that the award-winning Japanese master has been experimenting for some time. In addition, his poetical project – certainly influenced by the works of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán – has been generated creating sweeping landscapes, juxtaposing light and shadows as strong contrasts, but could be reassumed on the themes of the wall as a monumental scenography and magnificent calibration of sunlight. The clean aesthetic, volumes of pure geometry, the modern lines and the unobtrusive relation to the surrounding views make this building absolutely stunning. Las Cuadras expresses the personality and the meticulousness of Tadao Ando’s handprint, that as Ford’s, is always directed to the pursuit of perfection and pure beauty.

Giulio Ghirardi