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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures