Shigeru Ban Wins the 2014 Pritzker Prize

By Carolina A. Miranda
ARCHITECT 2014, March 24, 2014

The Japanese architect, known for his paper structures, is the 36th architect to win the industry’s highest honor.

In 1994, 2 million Rwandan refugees streamed into neighboring countries as they fled the ethnic conflict in their homeland. They set up crude camps, living in a stew of mud and plastic tarps. Like much of the rest of the world, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA, was watching. Unlike much of the rest of the world, he did something. Ban got on a plane to Geneva, where he talked his way into the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He could do better, he told them. A simple, paper-tube frame he had devised would allow the refugees to turn the plastic tarps into functioning, walk-in tents. The UN agreed. Since then, Ban has devoted himself to considering the ways architecture can function in crisis—even as he has maintained a bustling practice designing private homes, office buildings, and museums. Read more…

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