Shigeru Ban Architects

The Studio's work ranges from exhibition design and industrial design to single-family homes, public buildings and large temporary structures

Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, 2010 (photo Didier Boy de la Tour)

Shigeru Ban (Tokyo, 1957) founded Shigeru Ban Architects in Tokyo in 1985. Its three offices in Tokyo, Paris and New York City are coordinated respectively by Nobutaka Hiraga (Tokyo 1949), Jean de Gastines (Casablanca, 1957) and Dean Maltz. Shigeru Ban Architects currently employs 50 professionals.

Work ranges from exhibition design and industrial design to single-family homes, public buildings and large temporary structures. In parallel, Shigeru Ban Architects has an active commitment to disaster relief through the construction of easily built shelters. Using modest materials, the firm has created temporary refuge for domestic, religious and collective purposes in Ruanda, Nepal, China, Italy, Japan and Turkey. The Cardboard Cathedral (2013) in Christchurch, New Zealand replaces a cathedral damaged in an earthquake in 2011.

Unusual materials, elementariness and inventiveness in amazing construction systems are distinguishing features of work by Shigeru Ban Architects. The House of Double Roof (Yamanashi, 1993), the Furniture House (Yamanashi, 1995), the Atelier for a Glass Artist (Tokyo, 2006), the Paper Theatre (Amsterdam, 2003), the SBA Temporary Studio (Paris, 2004) and the Nomadic Museum (Santa Monica, 2006) show how simple steel pipes, prefabricated furniture, elements from office shelving and pressed paperboard can become structural elements. A leitmotiv is found in giant, awe-inspiring trellis-work roofs made in wood according to a hexagonal pattern.

Held up by a giant grid of pillars, such constructions are found at Centre Pompidou–Metz (2010), Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Clubhouse (Korea, 2010) and the YufuInfo building (Oita, Japan, 2018). Decoration similar to woven fabric is seen at the Aspen Art Museum (Colorado, 2014) and the Prefectural College of Arts and Culture (Oita, Japan, 2015).

Shigeru Ban Architects shows an elevated ability to transform the normal into the extraordinary, make refined what is rough, and turn the fragile into being sturdy – all typical qualities running through Far Eastern culture as a whole.

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