Shigeru Ban has been awarded the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize.
The Japanese architect’s practice is comprehensive, but he has given particular attention to innovative design, materials, and construction techniques for post-disaster settings.
He was one of the first to use — and creatively adapt — cargo containers for use as human shelter. (See here application in Northeast Japan following 3/11.)
No one else has so beautifully and effectively deployed cardboard. Originally conceived as a quick and inexpensive means of providing temporary post-disaster housing in Rwanda, Kobe, Haiti and elsewhere, the material is now recognized as a sustainable, resilient, and flexible resource for an extraordinary range of form and function.
Cardboard Cabins (Kobe, Japan) photo found here.
Below is the “Cardboard Cathedral” replacing the much-mourned earthquake pummeled Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand. It has been found that with regular maintenance — mostly painting — these temporary structures can be long-living.
In response and recovery we often begin at the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: water, food, and basic shelter. Too often we are inclined to ignore the higher reaches of beauty, inspiration, and hope. Shigeru Ban’s architecture demonstrates attending to biological fundamentals need not exclude engaging the psychological and spiritual.
Cardboard Cathedral (Christchurch, New Zealand) photo by Stephen Goodenough