In March 2011, the town of Onagawa, Japan was devastated by a powerful earthquake. In the months that followed, Shigeru Ban Architects designed a temporary housing complex for survivors who had been displaced from their homes. Ban’s Onagawa temporary container housing is a truly innovative design. The Japanese firm created 189 residential units in two- and three-story apartment buildings that are built from paper tubes and shipping containers.

Shigeru Ban, Onagawa, Japan, container housing, disaster relief, shipping containers

When the earthquake hit, it devastated the town of 10,000, destroying 3,800 of its 4,500 houses in Onagawa. Because of the region’s topography, there wasn’t enough flat land to accommodate the standard-issue, single-story houses that are typically built for disaster recovery, so Ban convinced authorities to build multi-story structures. Resolving the issue of Onagawa’s unflat land, the minimalist checkerboard-like pattern successfully created the necessary housing units with open living spaces along with internal storage.

+ Shigeru Ban Architects

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