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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."