Dominic Sansoni

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The Humanitarian Works of Shigeru Ban

Cardboard Cathedral. Image © Stephen Goodenough
Cardboard Cathedral. Image © Stephen Goodenough

2014 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 10 projects of his humanitarian work, explained by Shigeru Ban Architects themselves.

Paper Log House India. Image © Kartikeya ShodhanHualin Temporary Elementary School. Image © Li JunPaper Concert Hall L'Aquila. Image © Didier Boy de la TourCardboard Cathedral. Image © Stephen Goodenough+ 25

Spotlight: Shigeru Ban

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.”

Nine Bridges Country Club. Image © Hiroyuki HiraiOita Prefectural Art Museum. Image © Hiroyuki HiraiLa Seine Musicale. Image © Boegly + Grazia photographersCurtain Wall House. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai+ 17

Shigeru Ban to Design Up to 20,000 New Homes for Refugees in Kenya

Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban has signed an agreement with UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency tasked with guiding sustainable development, to design up to 20,000 new homes for refugees in Kenya’s Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement. Currently home to more than 37,000 refugees, the settlement is quickly outgrowing its original capacity of 45,000 – over 17,000 have arrived this year alone, with numbers expected to continue to increase.

“The key thing will be to design and construct shelter where no or little technical supervision is required, and use materials that are locally available and eco-friendly. It’s important that the houses can be easily maintained by inhabitants.”

Six Essential Materials & The Architects That Love Them

In case you missed it, we’re re-publishing this popular post for your material pleasure. Enjoy!

To celebrate the recent launch of our US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials, we've coupled six iconic architects with what we deem to be their favourite or most frequently used material. From Oscar Neimeyer's sinuous use of concrete to Kengo Kuma's innovative use of wood, which materials define some of the world's best known architects?

Post-Tsunami Housing / Shigeru Ban Architects

© Dominic Sansoni© Dominic Sansoni© Dominic Sansoni© Dominic Sansoni+ 6

  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  71
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2007