The Clark Institute is a study in restraint. This is no surprise coming from Tadao Ando, known for his beautiful concrete work. Use of water, also an Ando trademark, at the Clark surprised me with its ability to be a major form giver to the site and completely disappear at the same time.
The reflecting pool is absolutely stunning. Visual texture, scale, sound, reflections… wow. This is one end of the spectrum in the light swimming pool versus dark swimming (and reflecting) pool debate often had in Palm Springs.
This free-standing concrete wall, formed in the manner Ando is famous for, stands adjacent to a main gallery space, seemingly declaring the concrete itself is a worthy piece of the museum’s collection.
Connection to landscape and a use of continuous indoor outdoor elements, whether stone, concrete, wood, or water, develop a seamless flow between art collection, building, and landscape as art.
Here Ando departs from his classic concrete form and opts for board form plank concrete. The lines and textures in the concrete mimic the wood siding on the adjacent building. How cool would it be if the boards used to form the concrete became the siding on the building?
The library at the Clark Institute is worthy of a visit in itself. The size of the art and architecture collection is astounding. It’d be great if something similar existed closer to home.