Among the buildings designed by Ban that were praised by the award's judges is the Centre Pompidou-Metz, which the Tokyo-born architect co-designed with the French architect Jean de Gastines. While working on the Metz branch of Paris's Centre Pompidou, the architect had a studio on the latter's roof. Built using cardboard tubes, one of Ban's favoured materials, the studio had an arched roof and was a mini-version of the satellite. The Pompidou-Metz, which opened in 2010, also has an elegant arched roof, inspired by a traditional Chinese hat.
Ban's temporary structures include shelters for the victims of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and war in countries including Japan, Turkey, India, China, New Zealand and the Philippines. He founded the Voluntary Architects’ Network to help after such natural disasters.
"Architecture generally involves creating monuments to permanence from substantial materials like steel and concrete. Yet this year, the discipline’s top award is going to a man who is best known for making temporary housing out of transient materials like paper tubes and plastic beer crates"... New York Times... “His buildings provide shelter, community centers and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction,” the jury said in its citation. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.”
In a telephone interview from Paris, Mr. Ban, 56, said he was honored to have won, not because the Pritzker would raise his profile but because it affirms the humanitarian emphasis of his work. “I’m trying to understand the meaning of this encouragement,” he said of the prize. “It’s not the award for achievement. I have not made a great achievement.”
The prize, established in 1979 and viewed as the Nobel of architecture awards, suggests otherwise.
Mr. Ban is credited with challenging traditional notions of domestic space and what it means to have a roof over your head. His Naked House in Saitama, Japan, features four rooms on casters within a house clad in clear corrugated plastic and surrounded by rice fields. He stepped in after the 19th-century Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand was ravaged by a 2011 earthquake, designing a transitional sanctuary fashioned mainly from cardboard tubes.
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