Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect from Tokyo, wins 2014 Pritzker Price
With offices in Tokyo, Paris, and New York, Shigeru Ban designs elegant and innovative work for his private clients. From corporate headquarters to museums, concert halls and private residences, the 56-years-old architect is known for the originality, economy and ingeniousness of his work. But that's not all he does. For 20 years, Ban has traveled the world to help victims of natural and man-made disasters. With volunteers, students and local citizens, he designs and constructs low-coast, dignified recycle shelters and community buildings.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees hired him after he proposed paper-tube shelters in response to the 1994 conflict in Rwanda, which threw millions of people into tragic living conditions. After the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, Ban developed the "Paper Log House" for Vietnamese refugees. He used donated beer crated filled with sandbags for the foundation, and lined up the paper cardboard tubes vertically, to create the walls of the houses. He also designed there "Paper Church", a community center of paper tubes. Later on, it was disassembled and sent to Taiwan, to be reconstructed in 2008.
An inspiration for all
Announcing this year's laureate, Tom Pritzker said, "Shigeru Ban's commitment to humanitarian causes through his disaster relief work is an example for all. Innovation is not limited by building type and compassion is not limited by budget. Shigeru has made our world a better place.
"Reached at his Paris office, Shigeru Ban said, "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."
3 books to learn more about Shigeru Ban's work