Shigeru Ban and Paper Church

Shigeru Ban  and Paper Church

Shigeru Ban was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1957. He studied architecture at Southern California Institute of Architecture from 1977-1980. Ban then studied under John Hejduk at Cooper Union School of Architecture from 1980-1984. After he received his bachelor’s degree in Architecture, he started his own private practice, out of Tokyo. Starting around 1993 Ban began working as an adjunct professor, and to this day has worked at universities including: Tama Art, Yokohama National, Nihon, Columbia, Keio, Harvard, Cornell and Kyoto University of Art and Design. What sets Ban’s work apart from others is arguably his choice in materials and application techniques. Paper tube structures that are largely recycled, cheap and fairly easy to find, alongside the simple yet dynamic forms created, make his material choice not only attractive, but also effective. Another considerably noteworthy highlight regarding Ban’s work is the fact that he gets involved in so many disaster relief projects. Whether or not the disaster is natural or manmade, Ban has a talent of creating structures that can be assembled and dismantled quickly, as well as a passion to help the less fortunate. In an interview discussing natural disasters, Ban said, “We don’t need innovative ideas. We just need to build normal things that can be made easily and quickly. A house is a house.” One of Ban’s first substantial disaster relief projects was Paper Church in 1995. After a severe earthquake struck Kobe Japan, Ban and 160 local volunteers set out to build a new house of worship. The structure consisted of 58 paper tubes that were placed around an elliptical shape, and the building was completed in less than five weeks. The church was disassembled in 2005. Paper church was simple, significant and stunning.

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