Shigeru Ban (born August 5th 1957) is a Japanese architect who won the 2014 Pritzker Prize for his significant contributions in architectural innovation and philanthropy. His ability to re-apply conventional knowledge in differing contexts has resulted in a breadth of work that is characterized by structural sophistication and unconventional techniques and materials. Ban has used these innovations not only to create beautiful architecture but as a tool to help those in need, by creating fast, economical, and sustainable housing solutions for the homeless and the displaced. As the Pritzker jury cites: “Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism.” Born in Tokyo to a businessman father who enjoyed classical music and a mother who designed haute couture clothing, Ban's upbringing was a creative one from the start. He grew up in a Japanese wooden house that was often being renovated by carpenters, which sparked the child’s fascination for traditional carpentry. As a teenager, Ban originally intended to attend the Tokyo University of the Arts, until he came across an article on John Hejduk, who was the dean of the Cooper Union School of Architecture at the time. The models and plans of unbuilt buildings by this "paper architect" were revolutionary for the young Shigeru Ban and convinced to him to pursue his studies in architecture at Cooper Union.
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