Shigeru Ban


Shigeru Ban, (born August 5, 1957, Tokyo, Japan), Japanese architect who employed elements of both Japanese and American design in his projects and who was known for his pioneering use of cardboard tubes in building construction. In 2014 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize. In its citation the Pritzker jury noted his creatively designed structures, such as temporary shelters, for areas devastated by natural disasters. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.”

Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture from 1977 to 1980 and later moved to Cooper Union in New York City because he wanted to study under architect John Hejduk. After working for Japanese architect Isozaki Arata for two years, Ban received a degree in architecture from Cooper Union in 1984, and the following year he opened his own practice in Tokyo.

Ban developed a style known for its blend of traditional Japanese architecture with elements of American Modernism. He was most recognized for his innovative use of cardboard tubes as construction materials. He first used paper tubes in 1985–86, notably in a gallery for fashion designer Issey Miyake. Ban suggested to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1994 that shelters made of paper be constructed for Rwandan refugees; he was made a consultant to the agency in 1995, and 50 such structures were built in 1998.