News / Arts & Entertainment

Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Wins Pritzker Prize

Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, in New York, March 20, 2014.
Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, in New York, March 20, 2014.
Sarah Williams
— For the third year in a row, an Asian architect will receive the prestigious Pritzker Prize.  Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is the latest recipient of the award, which is considered to be the profession’s “Nobel Prize.”  He will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on Friday.

“Since I spent three years on the jury, between 2006 and 2009, I didn’t expect I would be chosen, so it’s a big surprise for me,” he said. “Compared to past laureates, I didn’t think I reached that level yet.”

Born in Tokyo, the 56-year-old Ban is known for his humanitarian structures, as well as his formal architecture. In 1994, he built relief shelters in Rwanda following that country’s civil war and genocide.  The next year, he helped the Japanese city of Kobe after the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

“For me, there is no difference between the normal architecture project and the humanitarian activities,” he said. “It’s just a different budget and a different atmosphere, and also there is no design fee but otherwise there’s no difference.”

Ban believes architecture should embrace all of society and not just the elite. 

“After I became an architect I was quite disappointed in my profession because mostly we are working for privileged people who have the power and money,” he said.  “I’m interested in making monuments, but I thought we can use our experience and knowledge for the general public, even for the people who lost their houses through natural disasters.”

Ban’s career has been notable also for its use of basic materials such as paper and plastic crates. He began his career in 1986, after studying in the United States at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Cooper Union School of Architecture.  Ban started out in Japan by using paper tubes to construct designs as a way to reduce project costs.  His methods were initially questioned by skeptical Japanese officials.

“First I had to get permission from the government to use the material as a structure element,” Ban said. “And also at that time, in 1986, nobody was talking about ecology or recycling, so it was quite unusual to use this for building, but now because everyone is interested in environmental issues, it’s become much easier to convince people.”

The paper used is industrial material and can be waterproofed and fire-protected. Some of Ban’s most prominent designs, including the Paper Church built for Kobe, Japan (later moved to Taiwan), and the Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, are built of paper materials.   Both were constructed following devastating earthquakes. 
 
This undated image released by the Pritzker Prize shows a cardboard cathedral in New Zealand designed by Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture PrizeThis undated image released by the Pritzker Prize shows a cardboard cathedral in New Zealand designed by Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize
x
This undated image released by the Pritzker Prize shows a cardboard cathedral in New Zealand designed by Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize
This undated image released by the Pritzker Prize shows a cardboard cathedral in New Zealand designed by Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban, 56, the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker jury also cited the Naked House in Saitama, Japan for questioning “the traditional notion of rooms and consequently domestic life.”  Another Ban trademark is his melding of exterior and interior spaces, as shown in the Curtain Wall House in Tokyo.

Ban is an international architect with buildings in Europe, Asia and the U.S.  He has offices in Tokyo, Paris and New York.  Two other Asian architects, Wang Shu of China and Toyo Ito of Japan, won the Pritzker Prize in 2012 and 2013.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."