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Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013 
Photo by Stephen Goodenough

Architect: Shigeru Ban

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013
Photo by Stephen Goodenough

Back in 1979 the Pritzker family established The Pritzker Architecture Prize using funds from their Hyatt Foundation. The Pritzker Prize is awarded annually to one living architect for significant achievement. It is referred to as the most prestigious award an architect can receive in their lifetime. If chosen, the architect receives $100,000, a bronze medallion, and a ceremony at an architecturally significant site. Some past winners have been Jean Nouvel, Thom Mayne, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and many more.

It was just announced a few weeks ago that the 2014 laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize is Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. After looking through his portfolio of work you will notice his elegant attention to detail and craft. One of the reasons he was chosen by the jury this year is for his inventive and resourceful design process regardless of who his client is. Ban has done work for high end private clients as well as humanitarian organizations. For twenty years he has travelled to natural disaster sites around the world to work with local citizens and provide them with low-cost and dignified design & construction solutions.

Shigeru Ban is quoted in saying, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“

One aspect of Ban’s work I would like to highlight is his innovative use of cardboard paper tubes. You can see them being used as columns, beams, and as walls when grouped together. These tubes are usually available locally and are easy to transport and build with. Ban says his Japanese upbringing has led him to design with as little waste as possible.

When announcing this year’s laureate, Tom Pritzker said, “Shigeru Ban’s commitment to humanitarian causes through his disaster relief work is an example for all. Innovation is not limited by building type and compassion is not limited by budget. Shigeru has made our world a better place.”

I encourage you to learn more about Shigeru Ban by visiting his website, http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com. Lastly, this year’s award ceremony will take place on June 13th, 2014 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You can stream it live by visiting www.PritzkerPrize.com.

+ M. Farid Shahid
Sources: www.PritzkerPrize.com
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