Shigeru Ban

Architect (1957)

The internationally renowned architect Shigeru Ban has been forever imagining an architecture which reconciles spatial poetry and structural inventiveness. Influenced by the Western interpretation of Japanese architecture, and well aware of living conditions in Japan’s overpopulated megalopolises, in his very first projects he designed open and flexible areas of freedom. By re-interpreting the traditional dwelling with his shoji screens made of translucent paper, he frees the house from its walls, lightens structures and develops systems of envelopes which can be completely opened. Ban does his utmost to de-materialize buildings in order to obtain a maximum fluidity of the inner space and a visual prolongation extending outwards, steered by a constant concern for an economy of means at the service of a particularly refined aesthetic. In refusing to distinguish between temporary and permanent, he has created original spaces by rethinking construction techniques and methods based on ordinary materials (bamboo, textiles, plywood…)  and standardized elements (transport containers). His paper and cardboard architectures, especially when used for emergency shelters, have made him famous throughout the world.
After studying architecture in Los Angeles (SCI-ARC) and New York (Cooper Union School of Architecture), Shigeru Ban created the Shigeru Ban & Associates agency in Tokyo in 1985. He has constructed numerous public buildings all over the world (Tazawako Station, Akita, 1997; Paper Art Museum, Mishima, 2002; Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2003-2010), as well as houses, a church, exhibition sets, and a few temporary works (Paper Log House, 1995) and nomadic projects (Nomadic Museum, 2007). He also teaches and was a consultant for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (1995-1997). He has received a large number of honours, particularly in France (Order of Arts and Letters, 2010).

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