Paper, a traditional material for home interiors in Japan, is not exactly a typical architectural construction material anywhere else. But this year’s winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize has shown that he can create beautiful structures for shelter, culture and worship from the humble cardboard tube.Shigeru Ban, who has designed a wide variety of structures, is known for his humanitarian efforts with disaster victims. The Tokyo-born architect has created recyclable shelters for low cost, starting back in Rwanda during the 1994 conflict that left millions without stable living conditions. The UN Refugee Agency made Ban a consultant after he proposed the creation of shelters out of paper tubes.
Ban has provided housing assistance in countries all over the world, including Haiti, China, India and Turkey. In 1995, he designed cardboard houses and a “Paper Church” community center for victims of the earthquake in Kobe, Japan.
According to the Pritzker Prize, he attributes his desire to use recyclable materials to Japanese culture and his upbringing.
The 56-year-old architect also designed the Pompidou Centre-Metz modern and contemporary art museum in France, the Japan Pavilion at the 2000 Hannover Expo in Germany, as well as other innovative structures for private clients.
See photos of several of Ban’s creations below:
Exterior of the Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000
Hannover, Germany (2000)
Curtain Wall House
Tokyo, Japan (1995)
Christchurch, New Zealand (2013)
Paper Concert Hall
L’Aquila, Italy (2011)
Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Clubhouse
Yeoju, South Korea (2010)
Nagano, Japan (1997)
Hualin Temporary Elementary School
Chengdu, China (2008)
Container Temporary Housing
Onagawa, Miyagi, Japan (2011)
Paper Log House
Kobe, Japan (1995)
Paper Refugee Shelters for Rwanda
Byumba Refugee Camp, Rwanda (1999)
Paper Partition System 4
Watch chief arts correspondent Jeffery Brown’s conversation with Shigeru Ban.