Last week, Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid’s right-hand man, attempted to mandate the boundaries of Architecture in a social media post worthy of a Millennial. The tone was prescriptive and characterized by a liberal application of caps lock. In an ideal world, it might have been collectively ignored, but the discussion sprawled across multiple Facebook threads and inspired a broad media response (not to mention this one). I offer you a very reductive abstract: Architecture’s contribution to society is form, not political correctness and not art, which lacks a function beyond itself. A fair bit of the ensuing banter on Schumacher’s Facebook wall draws, then erases, then rehashes the distinction between art and architecture. With more than a hint of indignation, he specifically denounces the winners of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. He was not on the roster. Injured dignities aside, the commentary allowed a pervasive and omnipresent question within our discipline to resurface in the digital forum: What do architects offer that no one else can?
Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban may be as well known for his innovative use of materials as for his compassionate approach to design. For a little over three decades, Ban, the founder of the Voluntary Architects Network, has applied his extensive knowledge of recyclable materials, particularly paper and cardboard, to constructing high-quality, low-cost shelters for victims of disaster across the world – from Rwanda, to Haiti, to Turkey, Japan, and more. We’ve rounded up images of Ban’s humanitarian work – get inspired after the break.
Explore the architectural development of Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban – from his early, more minimalist residential work in the 90s to his experimental, undulating structures (2010′s Pompidou Metz, Nine Bridges Golf Club) to his latest masterpiece in timber construction, Tamedia New Office Building (2013).
Shigeru Ban was pulled from a selection of 238 competitors as the “best person” to design the new Mount Fuji World Heritage Center in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan. The 4,300 square meter structure is expected to cost up to ¥2.4 billion and complete in the year 2016. We will keep you posted as more details become available.
In a recent article for the Denver Post, Ray Rinaldi discusses how the box is making a comeback in U.S. museum design. Stating how architecture in the 2000’s was a lot about swoops, curves, and flying birds – see Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava - he points out the cool cubes of David Chipperfield and Renzo Piano. We’ve rounded up some of these boxy works just for you: the Clyfford Still Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum Expansion, The St. Louis Art Museum’s East Building, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, and Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum. Each project begins to show how boxes can be strong, secure, and even sly. Check out more about the article here.
Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral is officially open to the public, just over two years after the crippling 6.3 magnitude earthquake ravished the New Zealand town of Christchurch. With an expected lifespan of 50 years, the temporary cathedral will serve as a replacement for the city’s iconic 1864 Anglican cathedral – one of Christchurch’s most prized landmarks – until a more permanent structure is built.
Disappointed that most architecture is built for the privileged, rather than society, Shigeru Ban has dedicated much of his career to building affordable, livable and safe emergency shelters for post-disaster areas. As described by TED:
Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda, or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose.
With ever-expanding traveling exhibitions attracting over 35,000 yearly visitors from around the globe, the Aspen Art Museum (AAM) has outgrown their cozy 9,000 square foot facility in which they have called home since their established in 1979. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been commissioned to design the new museum, being the first museum he has constructed in the U.S. The project is set for completion in August 2014. Continue reading for more information.
Shigeru Ban Architects shared with us their timelapse video for their latest construction, the IE Paper Pavilion. Made up of 173 paper tubes, this temporary structure is located in the grounds of IE’s Madrid campus and will be used to host executive education events and other activities. The structural design is eminently efficient. It took only two weeks to build, is based on sustainability objectives, and there was a requirement that it be a temporary construction. For more information on the project, please visit here.
Shigeru Ban just can’t get enough of paper tubes. The Japanese architect, renowned for his design of structures that can be quickly and inexpensively erected in disaster zones, is at it again in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit hard by a devastating earthquake last February. The earthquake of magnitude 6.3 killed over 200 people and inflicted irreparable damage on the city’s iconic gothic cathedral of 132 years. The cathedral was a copy of one in Oxford, England, and was one of the most famous landmarks of the Christchurch, pictured on postcards, souvenirs and tea towels.
A pioneer in so-called “emergency architecture,” Shigeru Ban has begun construction on a highly anticipated, unique replacement: a simple A-frame structure composed of paper tubes of equal length and 20 foot containers. The tubes will be coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants that the architect has been developing since 1986 – years before environmental friendliness and the use of inexpensive recycled materials were even a concern in architecture.
Read more about Ban’s visionary Cardboard Cathedral after the break…
Intrigued by the hexagonal plan and complex structure of Shigeru Ban’s Centre Pompidou Metz in France, ANTIVJ visual artists Simon Geilfus and Yannick Jacquet, and composer Thomas Vaquié transformed the building’s undulating facade into a digital spectacular with a light show that “abolishes notions of scale by contrasting micro-architecture with human construction”. The piece was loosely inspired by the research of deep-sea expert Peter A. Rona, whose work explores the fascinating marks left by unknown, hexagonal-shaped sea creature called Paleodictyon Nodosum, which Rona believes is designed to cultivate bacteria.
Learn more and watch the making of after the break…
Watch as JA+U takes a close look at the Jun Aoki House at Hanegi Park designed by Japanese architects Shigeru Ban Architects. The short video tours viewers through this intimate and minimalist home, revealing the nuances and features of the design. The house has a number of unique features, the most prominent of which is the semi-arched roof vault on the second level, which also gives a penetrating view through the length of the house. The openness of the architecture is emphasized by the austerity of the material choices. Stark white walls are set against the lush trees and vegetation of Hangei Park, highlighting the contrast between the natural and man-made.