JAPAN - Architecture's "nobel” goes to man who built "paper houses" [AN]


Shigeru Ban awarded the 2014 Pritzker Prize. He designed emergency shelters for victims of natural disasters such as the tsunami in Fukushima or violence. These buildings are made of cardboard and “low- tech”, easy to source locally, have a low environmental impact, and can be built quickly.



As the article mentions, Shigeru Ban was the architect who designed the temporary replacement for the ( Anglican} Cathedral of Christchurch in New Zealand. (The previous cathedral having been ruined by the devastating earthquake of 2011.)

The building was designed pro bono by Shigeru Ban, who is characterised as a “disaster architect”; Ban collaborated with Christchurch architecture firm Warren and Mahoney.In August 2011, it was reported that a new cathedral would open in February 2012, A-frame in style, rising 78 feet (24 m) in height, would incorporate 86 cardboard tubes of 1,100 pounds each atop 20 feet (6.1 m) long containers. However, it wasn’t until April 2012 when the site was blessed, and construction began on 24 July 2012.*
The cathedral rises 70 feet (21 m) above the altar. Materials used in its construction include 2 feet (0.61 m) diameter cardboard tubes, timber and steel. The roof is of polycarbon, and is held up by eight shipping containers which form the walls. The foundation is concrete slab. The architect initially wanted the cardboard tubes to be the structural elements, but local manufacturers could not produce tubes thick enough, and importing the cardboard was rejected. The 96 tubes, reinforced with laminated wood beams, are “coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants” leaving two-inch gaps between each so that light can filter into the cathedral. Instead of a replacement rose window, the building contains triangular pieces of stained glass. In addition to serving as a cathedral, the building serves as a conference venue*


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