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Building hope
March 31, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.
Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures

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posted by infini (9 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was visiting my family in Christchurch last October for the first time since the 2011 quake (which I happened to be there for). So much of the city is still in ruins, downtown is mostly a mess of rubble and parking lots, and unstable buildings are still being knocked down. But his cardboard cathedral was just so amazing and beautiful. It felt like an oasis in the city that was in tatters.

Though the pop-up container mall was pretty awesome, too.
posted by themadthinker at 11:20 AM on March 31


When I heard about this on NPR, I wondered how cardboard tubes would work for some of the buildings they were talking about. Seeing the pictures, it is pretty amazing, and now I can see that there are some pretty BIG cardboard tubes out there.
posted by history_denier at 11:48 AM on March 31


My first thought was how will they stand up to rain? Anyone know how these tubes are made for his construction?
posted by infini at 11:50 AM on March 31


I've always figured he used some sort of sonotube, but I don't know if they're specially treated for water resistance or what. When they're used, it's mostly for temporary structures, so it's not that huge of a problem.

Ban's work has been pretty well regarded for quite some time now, so I'd hold off on deciding that him receiving the award signals some kind of major shift for a while. While the profession is largely turning towards sustainability, it may just be Ban's "turn" this year, and next year it'll go to Liebeskind or something.
posted by LionIndex at 12:14 PM on March 31


That cathedral is amazing. Also the moveable concert hall in Italy. I kind of like this notion of transient buildings; what kind of possibilities can they open up? Provided they're safe, of course.
posted by emjaybee at 12:37 PM on March 31


The Christchurch tubes are inside the building and also polyurethane-coated, so rain isn't an issue.
posted by xiw at 3:11 PM on March 31


Ban does beautiful work, but his "sustainable" solutions rely on importing foreign materials to evoke a particular low-cost aesthetic that comparatively, is anything but. Not to mention his practice is built upon exploitive unpaid internships. Maybe I'm a pessimist, but his actions hardly seem prosocial. Many architects have used poverty and disaster to further their brand.
posted by dirtyid at 11:16 PM on March 31


Not to mention his practice is built upon exploitive unpaid internships.

Well, if you're going to disqualify people for prizes in the architecture profession based on that....

Maybe I'm a pessimist, but his actions hardly seem prosocial. Many architects have used poverty and disaster to further their brand.

I mostly agree. There are a lot of architects consciously doing sustainable permanent work as their main thing that just haven't gotten the media love that Ban has. The late Sam Mockbee and William McDonough are two that come to mind, but I think most firms taking that tack aren't well established enough yet or haven't done enough high-profile projects to get the notoriety required for a Pritzker, which is sort of a popularity contest similar to the Grammys.
posted by LionIndex at 7:27 AM on April 1


How a cardboard tube inspired a cathedral, and other happy accidents in architecture
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:51 AM on April 10


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