Shigeru Ban: Works and Humanitarian Activities

Architecture Department Fall 2009 Lecture Series

Shigeru Ban, is founder and principal of Shigeru Ban Architects. The firm, originally based in Tokyo now has offices in Paris and New York City. Ban became a “green” architect before ecology became fashionable. He is known for his use of inexpensive construction materials such as paperboard and cardboard tubes. His designs for prefab housing have been adopted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as temporary structures to house refugees. These structures have been used after the Kobe earthquakes in 1995, for the Congo refugees in Rwanda in 1999, and again in China’s Sichuan Province in 2008. Ban served as a consultant for UNHCR for five years and since continued his humanitarian activities. Ban has also used these lightweight but sturdy and relatively inexpensive materials to create homes, pavilions, and churches. Ban’s work has continued to explore basic geometric elements which helped to lead him into unique structural solutions.

Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture before attending the Cooper Union School of Architecture where he studied under John Hejduk. Ban received his bachelor of architecture in 1984 from Cooper Union. Ban taught at Keio University for seven years in addition to visiting appointments at university in Japan and the U.S.

This lecture is part of the FXFOWLE Foundation Lecture Series on Sustainability, Urbanism, and Design.