Shigeru Ban Wins Prize for Temporary Building Designs

plh-i-exterior-01This year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to Shigeru Ban, who has designed homes, museums, and concert halls. However, he is best known for the temporary buildings that he has designed for refugees and victims of natural disasters.

Many of the temporary buildings are made out of paper tubes, which are inexpensive and easy to find after disasters, when normal building supplies are in demand and more expensive. The buildings are similar to log cabins, except that the tubes are arranged vertically instead of horizontally. Since the paper tubes are lightweight, heavy machinery is not required to construct the temporary shelters.

Ban has built temporary housing for disaster victims in Japan, Haiti, China, India, Rwanda, and New Zealand. The buildings are both functional and architecturally impressive. They are designed to bring people together and give them a sense of dignity.

Ban was born in Tokyo. He studied architecture in the United States and then returned to Japan. He wanted to help people who had lost their homes in natural disasters, rather than focusing exclusively on wealthy clients. He began working with paper tubes in the 1980s, when he had recently graduated from architecture school and needed an inexpensive building material to use as a substitute for wood.

kobeSome of Ban’s temporary buildings have become permanent. For example, the paper church he built after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan was moved to Taiwan to be used as a community center. The church was designed in an elliptical shape with a solid wall on one side and columns on another. While a permanent building can be destroyed by a natural disaster, Ban believes a temporary building can become permanent if people love it.

Shelters Built Completely out of Paper

emergency shelter

Shigeru Ban has been creating buildings out of recycled paper since 1986. He has built shelters and buildings, some permanent, completely out of paper all over the world. His DIY paper shelters are used after natural disasters around the globe.

Shigeru first started experimenting with his paper tube structures after he finished studying at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and Cooper Union’s School of Architecture in 1984. The paper tubes he uses to create his portable shelters are the same ones found in textile factories. Shigeru found that the tubes were mupaper church ch stronger than he imagined and were very easy to waterproof and fireproof. The paper tubes were low-cost and reliable, making them the perfect material for his architectural ideas.

At first Shigeru’s designs came in more of an art form. He created magnificient buildings out of the paper tubes that people would flock to see. He built a church, homes, and even built himself a paper office because he could not afford to rent one. Many of his structures were meant to be recycled, but became permanent fixtures because of their popularity. His focus shifted when he saw that his design could be used for emergency shelters in disaster situations.

Shigeru’s emergency shelters were first used in 1994 for refugees in Rwanda. The next year, after an earthquake in Japan, he used his paper materials to rebuild a local church that became a local fixture for 10 years.

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