Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 27, 2014

Dignity in Disaster

Filed under: Catastrophes,Disaster,Preparedness and Response,Risk Assessment,Technology for HLS — by Philip J. Palin on March 27, 2014

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 Cabin_shigeru

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.

Cardbaord Cathedral_Stephen Goodenough Photo

Cardboard Cathedral (Christchurch, New Zealand) photo by Stephen Goodenough

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 27, 2014 @ 10:14 am

A worthy prize winner from a dying profession. Few understand the important role architects play in civilization no matter how small the structure.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 2, 2014 @ 4:52 am

….with the increased seismic activity, an interesting article about the preparedness of Canada and the lack of preparedness which affords no dignity and no excuse for executive leadership in government and industry to expose so many to a disaster and having little or no planning….it so heartening to see such display though of simple and effective housing as portrayed and surely the role of architect is much in demand as we begin to really rock and roll as many expect a real shak’n going on….we must be prepared for the inevitable as this world so riddled with corruption, self-serving ways and whether natural or man-made disaster, we must be prepared…..

kindly see:

http://www.thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/03/28/CanadaNotPreparedNaturalDisasters/

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