With thousands of Japanese displaced due to last week’s earthquake and ensuing tsunami, many are currently forced to make homes in local shelters lacking the comfort of even just a little bit of privacy. To offer some relief to the victims of the earthquake the office of Shigeru Ban Architectshas developed modular shelters for the displaced Japanese. The partitions come in a simple kit made from cardboard panels and paper tubes, but provide the individuals with privacy and a small space to call their own during a trying time.

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Shigeru Ban Architects will deploy its initiative for evacuees taking shelter at gymnasiums in the Tohoku region. The team hopes that these simple shelters will mitigate any stress and discomfort resulting from the lack of privacy and high density of refugees. As the architectsrelay, “Privacy is needed due to the lack of close relationships between neighbors in everyday life. Simple cardboard sheets were offered for insulation and to create a border between families. The cardboard was only used to cover the floor in early crowded times; after the population decreased, the cardboard was used to create partitions for night time privacy.”

The idea originated in 2004 after the Niigata earthquake and has been revised numerous times since then to better meet individual needs. After a project in Fukuoka, wall structures that had been honeycomb boards were changed to a strut-beam structure using paper tubes that could be furnished faster and conveniently at any site, with white cloth for partitions. The joints were made of plywood, and ropes were used for braces. For flexible partitioning, depending on the family size, the modularized unit dimensions were standardized at approximately 6 feet. Low cost and high speed were central in developing the partition system.

If you would like to make a donation to support this initiative please get in contact with Shigeru Ban Architects here: [email protected] You can also make a direct donation here:

Bank: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. Branch: Higashi Matsubara Branch Account Name: Voluntary Architects Network Account No.: 3636723 (Futsuu) Swift Code: BOTKJPJT Bank Address: 5-2-18 Matsubara, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

+ Shigeru Ban Architects