Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect who has had a long career and is well known for the buildings he designs and makes for refugees after natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.  His work is different to that of other architects as his ‘signature’ material is cardboard tubes, which he uses in a range of sizes. He has built himself a high status by making structures which should not really work with the materials he is using, therefore his work is unexpected and grabs a lot of attention. His voluntary work and other large projects, such as building the new temporary cathedral in Christ Church, have earned him the 2014 Pritzker Prize which is a very acclaimed prize and the best to win in the industry.  This shows how important him and his work are and what a successful individual career he has had.

pompidou_centre_metz_p110510_rh2Shigeru Ban designed Centre Pompidou Metz (above).  I like this building as I think that the contemporary shape reflects the function of the building as a modern art gallery which focuses on interpretation.  I feel that the use of paper and tubes creates a temporary feel which reflects the idea that art is forever changing and that they show a range of exhibitions. His use of materials also relates to the idea that modern art is usually very original and ‘not seen before’ just like this building design.  I think that the curvy roof is interesting as it is like a protective layer where the public can be safe and immerse themselves inside.  It also has a waterproof layer on top of the paper roof meaning that it is long lasting.  However I feel that the white roof contrasts too much with the environment it is in in the day, but at night like in the picture above it glows, therefore the appearance could be improved.


Above is the temporary cardboard cathedral that was built in Christchurch after the earthquake that destroyed many buildings, including the iconic cathedral that was here before.   To build this he used 98 cardboard tubes and 8 steel shipping containers, therefore using materials that would usually be wasted to create a modern church made from modern materials and ideas.  I love the shape of this building as although the materials and building are actually temporary, it makes it seem very strong and unmovable.  This suggests that those who survived the earthquake are standing strong, therefore is a structure of survival.  My favourite part of this building is the coloured glass triangle windows as they create a glowing effect that enhances the structure and importance of the building.  I think that the shape and colours of the cathedral replicates and conveys how iconic the Christchurch Cathedral was before the crisis.   The only thing that I’m not sure about in relation to the shape of the building is that it is so unusual that it does not completely blend in with the setting.

93621117_dd70a2c632This is the paper log houses’ that Ban designed after The great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.  I like the fact that this is a simple design where function is put before form and despite having a time and cost limit, the building was successful in helping those in need.  Although I think that this design looks a little like a shed, I think that the tubes used make it look a bit more homely and like a log cabin.  I like the idea that these materials are recyclable and therefore environmentally friendly whilst also being the right materials to use  in a temporary situation as they can last a long time and be taken down afterwards.  I also like how the brown tubes contrast against the white roof as it enhances the pointed roof and creates a feeling of stability and strength.  In addition, the colour brown makes me think of wood and the environment and therefore of the natural disaster that occurred.  Therefore I feel that Shigeru Ban has designed this well to fit in with the setting where it was made for.

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