Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shigeru Ban's architecture for social change

Pompidou Center Satellite Museum in Metz, France
Its roof was inspired by a woven bamboo hat

Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect whose fanciful but utilitarian designs employ paper tubes, plastic beer crates and other recycled, environmentally friendly materials, has been awarded this year's prestigious Pritzker Prize. Those in the know say that this is a sign of evolution in thinking of the Pritzker committee, away from rewarding costly art museum expansions and megaprojects toward acknowledging the efforts of architects whose work is geared to social concerns and environmentalism. (Among numerous other projects for disadvantaged people, he made homes out of shipping containers for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.)

Temporary modular home                                             "Cardboard Cathedral" 
                for tsunami victims                                      built in New Zealand after earthquake

“Whether you work for a private client or on a house for an earthquake victim, you’ve always got some problem to solve by design," he says. “We have a responsibility to work with people who have problems, because we have an opportunity to provide them with something beautiful and comfortable.”

Taschen Publishers books about Shigeru Ban

Ban Cover

For more information about Shigeru Ban, link here to a March 24, 2014 NY Times article.