Friday Recommends – 28.03.2014


On behalf of the entire ESARQ_UIC community and especially from the third generation of our graduands, we would like to send out our own warm hearted congratulations to Tokyo-based architect Shigeru Ban on his latest achievement: nothing less but becoming the winner of the 2014 Architecture Pritzker prize!

Prof Alberto T. Estevez has prepared a special article to commemorate Shigeru Ban’s work. Please click here to be redirected.

Our little but hopefully meaningful detail to Shigeru Ban is this edition of our weekly Friday Recommends post.
Shigeru Ban is not an unknown face for us at the ESARQ_UIC. The 2004 graduation ceremony of the third generation of graduands of the ESARQ_UIC was presented by Shigeru. Ten years on, Shigeru receives the highest award an architect could ever receive: the Pritzker prize. Ten years ago, our graduands not only attended one of the most significant events in their lives but we were fortunate enough to have Shigeru talk about his beginnings as an architect.

sigheru ban ESARQ_UIC


Firm Bio

“Most people look at cardboard tubes and see something fit for the recycling bin. But architect Shigeru Ban turns them into beautiful buildings.”

Shigeru Ban’s architecture redefines aesthetics, space, structure and even the idea of permanence. In 1986, for the Alvar Aalto Exhibition near Tokyo, Ban experimented with constructing a building from long paper tubes, the kind found at textile factories. The tubes ended up being much stronger than he had imagined, and were easier to waterproof and fireproof than he had guessed. Ban created many experimental buildings in this vein — from the Japanese Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Germany, which was meant to be recycled upon demolition, to an office for himself and his students set atop the Pompidou Centre in Paris, where they worked for six years.

But Ban’s paper-tube designs have found another use — as emergency shelters for those who have lost their homes in disasters and wars. In 1994, Ban created shelters for refugees in Rwanda. The next year, after an earthquake in Japan, he rebuilt a local church out of paper tubes that became a local fixture for 10 years. His designs — both low-cost, and dignity-building — have housed people affected by disasters in Taiwan, China, Haiti, Turkey and Sri Lanka. He helped develop a shelter system after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011.



About Shigeru Ban

[Extract from Interview Magazine] Shigeru Ban (born 5 August 1957) is considered by many to be something of a brilliant Gyro Gearloose character in his field. A seminal “green” architect before ecology became fashionable, the Japanese mastermind has created spectacular buildings out of the most unexpected material: tubes of paper. Since he first pioneered his paper structures—best evidenced in his now-iconic Paper Church in Kobe, Japan—he has been constantly searching for new materials to recycle.

The 51-year-old Ban is fascinated by technical prowess, but he is also sensitive to a certain morality in architecture. A former consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he is renowned for being an “emergency architect,” capable of intervening rapidly to create temporary structures, as was the case after the Kobe earthquakes in 1995, for the Congo refugees in Rwanda in 1999, and again in China’s Sichuan Province in 2008.

The founder of Shigeru Ban Architects, established NGO: VAN (Voluntary Architects Network), Ban is the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner. He teaches at Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Shigeru Ban was the winner in 2005 at age 48 of the 40th annual Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He was profiled by Time Magazinein their projection of 21st century innovators in the field of architecture and design.



[EN] Shigeru Ban: An Architect for Emergencies. A Film by Michel Quinejure. 52 minutes. Release: 2006. Distributor: Icarus Films.

[SP] Shigeru Ban. Arquitectura de emergencia. Director del documental: Michel Quinejure. Autor del libreto: Belinda Tato y José Luis Vallejo (ecosistema urbano). Año de Producción: 2000. Formato: DVD. Duración: 52′. Colección: arquia/documental. Nº de la colección: 19.

PALEODICTYON – making of from ANTIVJ is a visual label on Vimeo.

Master of innovation. Challenging accepted notions of architecture. Shigeru Ban. Written by Philip Jodidio. Softcover with flaps, 18,5 x 23 cm, 96 pages. TASCHEN Books (Basic Architecture Series).

14 Projects by Shigeru Ban Architects. A selection of notable works from the office of the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner. Architect Magazine website.

12 Disaster-Relief Projects by Shigeru Ban Architects. The architect’s use of simple materials to alleviate suffering led jurors to award him the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner. Architect Magazine website.


by Mia Pujol, ESARQ_UIC Publications Team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s