The Nomadic Museum by Shigeru Ban combines the architect's talent for meticulous work and green design into one incredible traveling exhibition. Using 148 shipping containers and massive paper tubes, the architect created a museum to feature a photography exhibition called Ashes and Snow by Gregory Colbert. The idea has been years in the making and exhibits not only Colbert's talent, but Ban's mastery of innovative architecture.
Colbert originally contacted Ban in 2000 with the idea and the concept finally came to fruition after several years of evolving. The exterior walls of the structure are made up of shipping containers placed in a checkerboard pattern. In between the shipping containers are pieces of PVC supporting a roof made out of a large PVC membrane. Pediments constructed of paper and metal tubes accent the exterior.
Inside, 30-inch paper columns create a cathedral-like nave where the photographs hang. To help guide circulation, a path was constructed out of wood that was re-used from construction scaffolding, with river rock making up the rest of the floor surface.
Though the general concept remained consistent, the construction of the building changed depending on where it was located. While in New York on Pier 54, the building was one long 963-foot gallery with an opening on one end for showing the artist’s movies. In Santa Monica, the space consisted of two side-by-side galleries configured like an “H” with a butterfly roof. Tokyo featured a similar configuration. The shipping containers were mostly rented locally, but some were used to ship the structure between locations. And although the artist received mixed reviews on his exhibition, critics raved about Shigeru Ban’s design.