Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been named 2014 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Best-known for projects such as the Cardboard Cathedral in New Zealand and the Centre Pompidou Metz in France, Ban is also highly regarded for his pioneering use of cardboard in disaster relief projects around the world.
Following last year’s winner Toyo Ito he is the second Japanese architect in a row to pick up this prestigious architecture prize and the seventh to receive the acclaims of the Prizker Prize’s 36-year history.
“Receiving this prize is a great honour, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing – not to change what I am doing, but to grow.” Says Ban reflecting news of his nomination.
The architect began his career in the office of Arata Isozaka after studies in America at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and New York’s Cooper Union School of Architecture. He founded his own Tokyo practice in 1985 with actually little experience and went on to complete a number of residential projects in Japan such as Three Walls (1988), Curtain Wall House (1995) and Naked House (2000).
His first designs for paper-tube structures were used to provide temporary homes for Vietnamese refugees after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Since then the architect has travelled to sites of natural and man-made disasters around the world to develop low-cost, recyclable shelters for affected communities.
He has also used shipping containers as ready-made elements for permanent and temporary structures. Last year Ban completed a temporary cardboard cathedral for Christchurch (2013), after the city’s former Anglican cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake. He has also designed an art museum for Aspen, Colorado, that is set to complete this summer.
The Pritzker Prize is presented annually to a living architect in recognition of contributions to both humanity and the built environment through architecture. Ban will receive a $100,000 prize and be presented with a bronze medallion in a ceremony on 13 June at the recently renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.