The Church of the Light is the main chapel of the Ibaraki Kasugaoka Church in Japan. Built in 1989, this building is one of the most famous designs of Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Tadao Ando often uses Zen philosophies when conceptualizing his structures. One theme he expresses in this work is the dual nature of existence. The space of the chapel is defined by light, the strong contrast between light and solid. In the chapel light enters from behind the altar from a cross cut in the concrete wall that extends vertically from floor to ceiling and horizontally from wall to wall, aligning perfectly with the joints in the concrete. At this intersection of light and solid the occupant is meant to become aware of the deep division between the spiritual and the secular within himself or herself.
One feature of the interior is its profound emptiness. Many who enter the church say they find it disturbing. The distinct void space and absolute quiet amounts to a sense of serenity. For Ando the idea of 'emptiness' means something different. It is meant to transfer someone into the realm of the spiritual. The emptiness is meant to invade the occupant so there is room for the spiritual to fill them.
Tadao Ando is a Japanese self-taught architect whose approach to architecture and landscape was categorized by architectural historian Francesco Dal Co as "critical regionalism".