Shigeru Ban, one of Inhabitat’s favorite architects, is renowned for his disaster relief design and his ingenious use of lightweight, unconventional, and environmentally responsible materials — in particular, paper and bamboo. His signature water-proof and fire-proof paper tube architecture is iconic around the world. In recognition for his inspiring work, Ban was named the 2014 winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. A leader for humanitarian architecture and experimental design, Shigeru Ban said of his accolade: “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing – not to change what I am doing, but to grow.” We’ve rounded up some of our favorite projects by the accomplished Japanese architect, click below to see some of his most inspiring work.
Shigeru Ban designed, pro-bono, this stunning temporary Cardboard Cathedral for Christchurch following a devastating earthquake in 2011. Built with his signature paper-tubes, the transitional church can hold up to 700 people and is built to last 50 years.
The curvaceous Centre Pompidou-Metz is an extension of the Pompidou arts center of Paris. Its undulating roof made up of a hexagonal pattern was inspired by the woven structure of a Chinese hat that Shigeru Ban found in Paris.
One of Ban’s most iconic works, the Curtain Wall House is a contemporary twist on the traditional Japanese home. Two-story-tall billowing curtains wrap around the perimeter of the house like a cocoon that can be opened or closed to allow transparency between the interior and exterior.
In another display of paper’s structural might, Ban transformed cardboard tubes and recycled paper-plastic composite into a a bridge spanning the Gardon River in southern France. The temporary masterpiece was created out of 281 cardboard tubes and was strong enough to support 20 people at a time.
After the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake destroyed the Takatori Church in Kobe, Ban designed a temporary paper-tube church pro-bono. Ten years later, the paper church was deconstructed and donated to a Catholic community in Taiwan, where it served as a place for worship.
When a powerful earthquake devastated the Japanese town of Onagawa in 2011, Shigeru Ban was quick to design and install temporary disaster-relief housing built from paper tubes and shipping containers. The lightweight, affordable, and clean design provided fast relief to the earthquake survivors while simultaneously lifting spirits with its dignified design.
After the 2011 earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, Ban designed his fourth iteration of the Paper Partition System, which provide privacy in existing emergency shelters. Constructed from paper tubes, white canvas sheets, and safety pins, these pop-up partitions were financed with donations from around the world.
Built for the Swiss media company Tamedia in Zurich, this carbon neutral office building was created from interlocking wooden beams without the need for metal joints and glue. The beautiful wooden structure also features a glass facade to fill the interior with light.
In 2004, Ban designed 100 small homes for Sri Lankan villagers displaced by a tsunami in Kirinda. The tiny homes are built from earth bricks and locally-sourced rubber tree wood.
Villa at Sengokubara is a minimalist wooden house that wraps around a teardrop-shaped courtyard. Like in his other architecture works, Ban creates a nearly seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces.