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Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando (born 1941) is one of the most renowned contemporary Japanese architects. His de signs are often compared to those of Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier and obviously take some inspiration from their work. Characteristics of his work include large expanses of unadorned walls combined with wooden or slate floors and large windows. Active natural elements, like sun, rain, and wind are a distinctive inclusion to his contemporary style.

Tadao Ando was born a few minutes before his twin brother in Osaka, Japan, in 1941. When he reached the age of two, his family decided that he would be raised by his grandmother while his brother would remain with their parents. Ando's childhood neighborhood contained the workshops of many artisans, including a woodworking shop where he learned the techniques of that craft. As an adult, his earliest design attempts were of small wooden houses and furniture.

Ando told Watanabe Hiroshi, in a 1993 article for Japan Quarterly, that his grandmother "wasn't very strict with regard to school…. But she was strict about me keeping my word." He was a mediocre student, so rather than pursuing an education, Ando followed in the footsteps of his brother to become a professional boxer at the age of 17. A series of boxing matches soon took him to Bangkok, Thailand. While there, he visited Buddhist temples in his spare time and became fascinated by their design. He then spent several years traveling in Japan, Europe, and the United States, observing building design.

Ando abandoned his boxing career to apprentice himself to a carpenter and might have started a career as a builder instead of an architect except that he kept encouraging his clients to accept his unconventional design ideas. He had no formal architectural training. Using a list of the books architecture students were assigned to read in four years, he trained himself within one year. He did not apprentice to another architect because every time he tried, he has explained in interviews, he was fired for "stubbornness and temper."

Ando further demonstrated his independence by refusing to establish an office in Tokyo, which is generally thought to be essential for architectural success in Japan. He opened his practice, in 1969, at the age of 28, in his native Osaka. His firm, which is managed by his wife, Yumikio Ando, is still based in Osaka. Consequently, the great majority of his buildings are in or around Osaka, including several projects in nearby Kobe.

Ando first achieved recognition with the Azuma House which received the Architectural Institute of Japan's annual award in 1979. Completed in 1976, and also known as the Rowhouse in Sumiyoshi, this small house in a working-class section of Osaka introduced all the elements of his later work: smooth concrete walls, large expanses of glass, uncluttered interiors, and an emphasis on bringing nature into contact with the residents. Only two stories high and just over three meters wide, its windowless front wall is made entirely of reinforced concrete with a single recessed area that shelters the entrance. The home is composed of three cubic components. The first cube contains the living room on the ground floor, and the master bedroom above. The third segment contains the kitchen, dining area, and bathroom on the lower floor, and the children's bedroom on the upper floor. The second section, between the other two, is a central courtyard.

The courtyard that lies between the two bedrooms is walled but completely open to the sky above. A bridge spans the courtyard and joins with a side staircase that descends to the courtyard. With the exception of the kitchen/dining/bath grouping, one must go outside to pass between rooms even during the winter and rainy seasons. Ando believes the inconvenience and discomfort are not without recompense. His buildings force an awareness onto their inhabitants of their place in the world. Moreover, the introspective design of the home insulates its occupants from the sound and sights of the city and offers a tranquil space which is still open to the sun, wind, and clouds.

One of Ando's larger well-known housing projects is his Rokko Housing Complex. The complex, which was built in three stages on the sixty degree slope of the Rokko mountains, contains open public spaces and insular private apartments. Each apartment features a terrace with a spectacular view of the port of Kobe and the Bay of Osaka. Ando's Church on the Water, in Hokkaido, is a Christian church which features an artificial lake which comes to the very edge of the building. The cubic concrete chapel has one entirely glass wall that slides completely away in good weather. The pews in the chapel face the lake and overlook a large steel cross standing in the middle of the water. Church of Light, in Osaka, which is recognized as another masterful work, is a rectangular concrete box, intersected at a 15 degree angle by a freestanding wall which defines the entrance. Behind the altar, a clear glass cross-shaped opening in the concrete wall floods the interior with light. Water Temple, in Hyogo, is a Buddhist temple built under a lotus pond. The entrance to the temple is a stairwell which bisects the pond and leads to the temple below.

Ando's four-story Japan Pavilion was considered the most impressive work of architecture at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain. One of the largest wooden buildings in the world, the pavilion measures 60 meters wide, 40 meters deep, and 25 meters high at its tallest point. Unpainted wood, one of the most traditional construction materials in Japan, was juxtaposed with such modern elements as a translucent Teflon-coated screen roof. Though conceptually different from his concrete and glass constructions, the pavilion still exhibits his style by not having front openings save a single breeze-way that allows the sun and wind free passage between the two wings. The focus remains internally oriented with an emphasis on tangible natural participation within the defined space.

Ando has lectured widely and has taught architecture at such American universities as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. According to Herbert Muschamp in an interview for the New York Times in 1995, Ando considers Japan "boring. He prefers the United States because Americans are encouraged to have their own dreams and to pursue them. In Japan, he says, people do not let themselves dream." His building debut in the United States was the design of a gallery for the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the 1992 addition to house their collection of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean art. More recently, he won the 1997 commission to design the new building for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas.

Style

Ando's use of concrete draws on work by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, with whom he is often compared. Ando adds a mastery of nature, light, and space which become as important and tangible as the walls. In an interview with Philip Jodidio, for the book, Tadao Ando, Ando says, "I am interested in a dialogue with the architecture of the past but it must be filtered through my own vision and my own experience. I am indebted to Le Corbusier or to Mies van der Rohe, but in the same way, I take what they did and interpret it in my own fashion." His fashion includes a very high quality concrete with a flawlessly lustrous finish achieved by casting in watertight formwork. Generally there is little or no ornamentation on his walls except for precise and ever-changing washes of sunlight and shadow which constantly emphasize the passage of time. Many of his homes and public buildings utilize large amounts of natural light and often contain open courtyards. These walled havens give his buildings an internal orientation which effectively closes out urban chaos. The open-aired isolation enables the inhabitants of his buildings the opportunity to reflect and observe their relationship to natural rhythms.

Ando is also known for his fusion of Eastern and Western architecture. He designs buildings that seem universal in their balance of introspection and assertiveness. His massive concrete walls define carefully assembled geometric compositions of squares, circles, and angles in endlessly fresh and unpredictable patterns. He is often touted for simple serene buildings that are reminiscent of ancient Zen gardens but which have been realized in the vernacular of modern architecture. They are traditionally Japanese in their air of reserve, but they are fully committed to modernity.

Ando's inclusion of nature in his designs has been described as domesticating, abstracting, or stylizing nature. His courtyards are generally paved, and vegetation is at a minimum, if there are plants at all. He prefers atmospheric elements. His buildings incorporate light, wind, temperature, and precipitation to make the inhabitants conscious of their interaction with the space. This introspective awareness is offered as an antidote to the uniformity of contemporary urban life. Electric lighting and climate-controlled environments desensitize people to natural rhythms and even to their own existence as being separate from and reactive to their environment. Awareness of the cold, hard concrete helps lead to the remembrance that humans are soft and warm. Having to grab an umbrella to go to the bathroom reminds one of being part of the natural world. Seeing shadows slowly cross the wall visually tracks the passing of time.

In his wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ando constructed a grouping of freestanding columns that obscure parts of the displays as seen from the room's entrance. This leads the viewer to pay close attention to small areas of the art before the room opens up to reveal the display in its entirety. Likewise, when working with such natural settings as a view of the ocean or wooded landscapes, Ando often uses architectural elements to establish a contrasting frame. This evokes a Japanese tradition of blocking panoramic views and leaving a little opening which forces viewers to focus on a smaller area. This encourages people to see that small part of the universe more clearly.

Further Reading

Co, Francesco Dal, Tadao Ando, Phaidon Press Limited, 1995.

Contemporary Architects, 3rd ed., St. James Press, 1994.

Frampton, Kenneth, ed., Tadao Ando: Buildings, Projects, Writings, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1984.

Furuyama, Masao, Tadao Ando, 3rd ed., Birkhäuser-Verlag Für Architektur, 1996.

Jodidio, Philip, Tadao Ando, Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, 1997.

Architectural Record, September, 1992, p. 90; November, 1995, p. 74.

Architecture: The AIA Journal, May, 1995, p. 23.

Art in America, April 1, 1990, p. 220.

Christian Science Monitor, April 17, 1995, p. 14.

House Beautiful, July, 1995, p. 33.

Japan Quarterly, October, 1993, p. 426.

New York Times, April 17, 1995, p. C13; April 23, 1995, sec. 2, p. 38; September 21, 1995, p. C1; May 18, 1997, sec. 2, p. 1.

Wall Street Journal, July 23, 1997, p. A16.

Washington Post, April 17, 1995, p. C1.

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Ando, Tadao

Tadao Ando (tädäō ändō), 1941–, Japanese architect, b. Osaka. The majority of his buildings are in Japan; he is particularly known for religious structures and museums. Informally apprenticed to a Japanese master carpenter, Ando is otherwise self-taught. He traveled widely in the 1960s, reading and absorbing architecture firsthand, and opened his own firm in 1970. A few years later he achieved early public recognition for his house commissions. His work matured in the 1980s and by late in the decade he was creating outstanding public buildings, such as the Church of the Light, Hokkaido, Japan (1988), and the Church on the Water, Osaka (1988). By then, he had become widely known for his synthesis of modern Western architecture and an exquisite Japanese sensibility.

At his best, Ando creates serenely austere, unornamented structures made of silky smooth concrete punctuated by sheets of plate glass. His works contrast simple masses and planes with the play of light and natural elements, emphasizing function, strength, and beauty. He won substantial acclaim for his first public commission in the United States, the handsome Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2001), and for the ambitious Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Tex. (2002), which features glass-walled pavilions that appear to float upon a lagoon. Ando's low-slung Clark Center, Williamstown, Mass. (2014), an elegant glass, concrete, and red granite structure set on a reflecting pool, is the centerpiece of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute's extensive, environmentally conscious expansion. Ando was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995.

See his Architecture and Spirit (1999) and Light and Water (2002); R. Pare, Tadao Ando: The Colours of Light (2d ed. 2000); studies by F. Dal Co, ed. (1996) and P. T. Hien (1998).

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Ando, Tadao

Ando, Tadao (1941– ). Internationally recognized largely self-educated Japanese architect. After travelling in Africa, Europe, and the USA he founded Tadao Ando Architect & Associates in Osaka in 1969. Drawing on traditional materials and vernacular styles, he also used modern techniques of construction, and produced the concept of ‘defensive architecture’ which turned away from the street and looked inwards A leader of Critical Regionalism, he was responsible for the Wall-House at Sumiyoshi, Osaka (1979—which exploits his interest in an architecture stripped to elemental minimals), the Rokko housing, Kobe (1983–93), the Church on the Water, Tomamu, Hokkaido (1988), the Naoshima Museum and Hotel, Kagawa (1990–5), the Museum of Wood, Mikata-gun, Hyogo (1993–4), UNESCO Headquarters, Paris (1994–5), and the Suntory Museum, Osaka (1994). The Naoshima complex shows how Ando employs rigorous geometries and concrete, yet responds with great sensitivity to the site. His Sayamaika Historical Museum, Osaka, was completed in 2002, and his Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, designed 1997, in 2003.

Bibliography

Ando (1989);
Blaser (2001);
Century, so C20 = twentieth century (1996);
Dal Co (1995);
Drew (1996);
Frampton (1991);
Futagawa (ed.) (1997, 2000);
Furuyama (1996);
Jodidio (1997a);
Pare (1996);
Zabalbeasoa et al. (eds.) (1998)

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Ando, Tadao

Tadao Ando

Architect

Born September 13, 1941, in Osaka, Japan; married Yumikio.

Addresses: OfficeTadao Ando Architect & Associates, 5-23 Toyosaki 2-Chome Kita-ku, Osaka 531-0072 Japan.

Career

Worked as a boxer; apprenticed with a carpenter; opened his own architectural practice, 1969. Notable designs include: Azuma House, Osaka, Japan, 1976; Rokko Housing Complex, Japan; Church on the Water, Hokkaido, Japan; Church of Light, Osaka, Japan; Water Temple, Hyogo, Japan; Japan Pavilion, 1992; gallery for Art Institute of Chicago, 1992; seminar house for TOTO, 1999; Yumebutai garden complex, Awaji Island, Japan, 2001; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, MO, 2001; Komyo-ji Buddhist temple, Saijo, Japan, 2001; couture house, Milan, Italy, 2002; new building for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, 2002; pavilion at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, England, 2002; addition to the Clark Institute, Williamston, MA, 2004; Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany, 2004. Also taught architecture at Yale, Columbia, and Harvard.

Awards: Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, 1979; Japanese Cultural Design Prize, 1983; Alvar Aalto Medal, 1985; Japanese Ministry of Education Prize, 1986; Mainichi Art Prize, 1987; Isoya Yoshida Award, 1988; Medaille d'Or, French Academy of Architecture, 1989; Art Prize, Osaka, 1990; Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1991; Honorary Fellow, American Institute of Architects, 1991; Carlsberg Architectural Prize, 1992; Japan Art Grand Prix, 1994; Pritzker Architecture Prize, 1995; Praemium Imperiale, 1996; British Architects Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, 1997; AIA gold medalist, 2001.

Sidelights

Tadao Ando is one of the most renowned contemporary Japanese architects. His designs are often compared to those of Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier and he obviously takes some inspiration from their work. Characteristics of Ando's work include large expanses of unadorned walls combined with wooden or slate floors and large windows. Active natural elements, like sun, rain, and wind are a distinctive inclusion to his contemporary style.

Ando was born a few minutes before his twin brother in Osaka, Japan, in 1941. When he reached the age of two, his family decided that he would be raised by his grandmother while his brother would remain with their parents. Ando's childhood neighborhood contained the workshops of many artisans, including a woodworking shop where he learned the techniques of that craft. As an adult, his earliest design attempts were of small wooden houses and furniture.

Ando told Watanabe Hiroshi in a 1993 article for Japan Quarterly that his grandmother "wasn't very strict with regard to school.... But she was strict about me keeping my word." He was a mediocre student, so rather than pursuing an education, Ando followed in the footsteps of his brother to become a professional boxer at the age of 17. A series of boxing matches soon took him to Bangkok, Thailand. While there, he visited Buddhist temples in his spare time and became fascinated by their design. He then spent several years traveling in Japan, Europe, and the United States, observing building design.

Ando abandoned his boxing career to apprentice himself to a carpenter and might have started a career as a builder instead of an architect except that he kept encouraging his clients to accept his unconventional design ideas. He had no formal architectural training. Using a list of the books architecture students were assigned to read in four years, he trained himself within one year. He did not apprentice to another architect because every time he tried, he has explained in interviews, he was fired for "stubbornness and temper."

Ando further demonstrated his independence by refusing to establish an office in Tokyo, which is generally thought to be essential for architectural success in Japan. He opened his practice, in 1969, at the age of 28, in his native Osaka. His firm, which is managed by his wife, Yumikio, is still based in Osaka. Consequently, the great majority of his buildings are in or around Osaka, including several projects in nearby Kobe.

Ando first achieved recognition with the Azuma House which received the Architectural Institute of Japan's annual award in 1979. Completed in 1976, and also known as the Rowhouse in Sumiyoshi, this small house in a working-class section of Osaka introduced all the elements of his later work: smooth concrete walls, large expanses of glass, uncluttered interiors, and an emphasis on bringing nature into contact with the residents. Only two stories high and just over three meters wide, its windowless front wall is made entirely of reinforced concrete with a single recessed area that shelters the entrance. The home is composed of three cubic components. The first cube contains the living room on the ground floor, and the master bedroom above. The third segment contains the kitchen, dining area, and bathroom on the lower floor, and the children's bedroom on the upper floor. The second section, between the other two, is a central courtyard.

The courtyard that lies between the two bedrooms is walled but completely open to the sky above. A bridge spans the courtyard and joins with a side staircase that descends to the courtyard. With the exception of the kitchen/dining/bath grouping, one must go outside to pass between rooms even during the winter and rainy seasons. Ando believes the inconvenience and discomfort are not without recompense. His buildings force an awareness onto their inhabitants of their place in the world. Moreover, the introspective design of the home insulates its occupants from the sound and sights of the city and offers a tranquil space which is still open to the sun, wind, and clouds.

One of Ando's larger well-known housing projects is his Rokko Housing Complex. The complex, which was built in three stages on the sixty degree slope of the Rokko mountains, contains open public spaces and insular private apartments. Each apartment features a terrace with a spectacular view of the port of Kobe and the Bay of Osaka. Ando's Church on the Water, in Hokkaido, is a Christian church which features an artificial lake which comes to the very edge of the building. The cubic concrete chapel has one entirely glass wall that slides completely away in good weather. The pews in the chapel face the lake and overlook a large steel cross standing in the middle of the water. Church of Light, in Osaka, which is recognized as another masterful work, is a rectangular concrete box, intersected at a 15 degree angle by a freestanding wall which defines the entrance. Behind the altar, a clear glass cross-shaped opening in the concrete wall floods the interior with light. Water Temple, in Hyogo, is a Buddhist temple built under a lotus pond. The entrance to the temple is a stairwell which bisects the pond and leads to the temple below.

Ando's four-story Japan Pavilion was considered the most impressive work of architecture at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain. One of the largest wooden buildings in the world, the pavilion measures 60 meters wide, 40 meters deep, and 25 meters high at its tallest point. Unpainted wood, one of the most traditional construction materials in Japan, was juxtaposed with such modern elements as a translucent Teflon-coated screen roof. Though conceptually different from his concrete and glass constructions, the pavilion still exhibits his style by not having front openings save a single breezeway that allows the sun and wind free passage between the two wings. The focus remains internally oriented with an emphasis on tangible natural participation within the defined space.

In 1999, Ando's design for a seminar house for TOTO, a manufacturer of plumbing equipment, was built. Ando had been asked by the firm to "find a site that would be spiritually refreshing," according to Peter Davey of Architectural Review. The spot he chose was on the top of a hill that looked down over a forest leading to Osaka Bay. He went on to design his largest project up to that point: a 70-acre garden complex on Awaji Island in Japan. Ando called it yumebutai, which translates to "a place of dreams." He worked hard to get the property transferred to public ownership so that it could be enjoyed by everyone, not just the wealthy. A hotel, conference center, gardens, and water parks were all included in his plan. "Yumebutai cannot be discussed as architecture alone," Architecture's Tom Heneghan declared. "It is an overlap between architecture, landscape design, event planning, social programming, and environmental art."

In 2001, the Calder Foundation hired Ando to design its new museum in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, which according to Interior Design, would "be dedicated to three successive generations of sculptors who shared both a name—Alexander Calder—and a medium." He was also contracted to design the Francois Pinault Contemporary Art Foundation in Paris, France (scheduled for completion in 2006) and the Clark Institute in Williamston, Massachusetts. His next building, the new Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri, opened to the public in October of 2001; it was his first institutional project in the United States. That same year, a Buddhist temple he designed, called Komyo-ji, was built. Replacing a 250-year-old building, the temple incorporated "existing trees, stone walls, gatehouse, and belltower as a memory of the old—a decision that produced a more compressed and engaging complex," wrote Architectural Review's Michael Webb. The progressive chief priest had insisted on a light-filled space for the community which was suitable for concerts, lectures, and worship. In 2002, fashion designer Giorgio Armani commissioned Ando to design his world headquarters building. Ando's task was to turn a former chocolate factory in Milan, Italy, into a suitable place for fashion shows and other events. Architectural Review's Webb declared that the design demonstrated how Ando "has reinvented the traditional Japanese aesthetic of light and shade, offering linear progression through a walled labyrinth, guiding foot and eye, concealing and selectively revealing to build anticipation for the drama to come. Materials are plain, forms simple, but the effects are thrilling. From Buddhist temple to European fashion house, Ando finds a common thread between diverse cultures and patterns of human behavior."

Also in 2002, construction was completed on another one of Ando's designs, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. "In Ft. Worth he's created a rich architectural experience of materials and movement—you feel drawn through galleries that are both logical and mysterious, simple and surprising," wrote Newsweek's Cathleen McGuigan. Ando's first British project involved joining a group that relandscaped Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens. Ando's work received mixed reviews, however. Questions were raised "about the value and possible loss of local identity. To what extent is this .... a Japanese garden? And is it at home in central Manchester?," pondered Building Design's Steven Morant. In 2004, another of Ando's designs, the Langen Foundation, opened in Neuss, Germany.

Ando has lectured widely and has taught architecture at such American universities as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. According to Herbert Muschamp in an interview for the New York Times in 1995, Ando considers Japan "boring. He prefers the United States because Americans are encouraged to have their own dreams and to pursue them. In Japan, he says, people do not let themselves dream."

Sources

Books

Co, Francesco Dal, Tadao Ando, Phaidon Press Limited, 1995.

Contemporary Architects, 3rd ed., St. James Press, 1994.

Frampton, Kenneth, ed., Tadao Ando: Buildings, Projects, Writings, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1984.

Furuyama, Masao, Tadao Ando, 3rd ed., Birkhäuser—Verlag Für Architektur, 1996.

Jodidio, Philip, Tadao Ando, Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, 1997.

Periodicals

Architectural Record, September 1992, p. 90; November 1995, p. 74.

Architectural Review, October 1999, p. 60; October 2001, p. 66; February 2002, p. 74.

Architecture: The AIA Journal, May 1995, p. 23; March 2001, p. 96; June 2003, p. 37, p. 48; January 2002, p. 25.

Art Business News, September 2004, p. 28.

Art in America, April 1, 1990, p. 220; September 2002, p. 31; July 2003, p. 112.

Building Design, June 7, 2002, p. 4; September 13, 2002, p. 14.

Christian Science Monitor, April 17, 1995, p. 14.

Concrete Construction, April 2003, p. 32.

House Beautiful, July 1995, p. 33.

Interior Design, May 2001, p. 76; October 2001, p. 62.

Japan Quarterly, October 1993, p. 426.

Newsweek, December 16, 2002, pp. 68-70.

New York Times, April 17, 1995, p. C13; April 23, 1995, sec. 2, p. 38; September 21, 1995, p. C1; May 18, 1997, sec. 2, p. 1.

Time, March 8, 2005, p. 24.

W, December 2002, p. 130.

Wall Street Journal, July 23, 1997, p. A16.

Washington Post, April 17, 1995, p. C1.

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Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.