Ando was born in 1941 in Minato-ku, Osaka, Japan, and raised in Asahi-ku in the city. He led an eventful life, working as a truck driver and boxer prior to settling on the profession of architecture, despite never having taken formal training in the field. Struck by the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel on a trip to Tokyo as a second-year high-school student, he eventually decided to end his boxing career of less than two years after graduating from high school to pursue architecture. He attended night classes to learn drawing and took correspondence courses on interior design. He visited buildings designed by renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn before returning to Osaka in 1968 to establish his own design studio, Tadao Ando Architect and Associates.
His style is characterized by the tradition of anti-seismic reinforced-concrete, or the use of unfinished reinforced concrete structures. World-renowned, Ando has lectured at various American universities, including Yale, Columbia and Harvard.
In 1984, Ando published his first lithograph printing of his architectural masterpieces in ink and colour pencil. In 1998, he made his representative work, "Tadao Ando Prints 1998" that consisted of ten prints.