Architect Shigeru Ban in Aspen. Photo: Karl Wolfgang.
The recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to architecture and design, Shigeru Ban (b. 1957) is widely respected for his innovative approaches to environmentally sound architecture and for his devotion to humanitarian efforts in the wake of devastating natural and manmade disasters.
Ban’s nearly 50 awards include a Royal Institute of British Architects Award for his Centre Pompidou-Metz museum in Metz, France (2012); the Auguste Perret Prize of the International Union of Architects (2011); and the Architecture Institute of Japan’s Grand Prize (2009) for his Nicolas G. Hayek Center, the new headquarter building for Swatch Group Japan. In 2010 he was awarded membership into France’s Order of Arts and Letters, followed by invitation to the National Order of Merit in 2011. Ban has received several honorary degrees and fellowships, including Doctorates at Amherst College and the Technical University of Munich and fellowships from The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and The American Institute of Architects. In 2001 Time magazine named him “Innovator of the Year.”
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France, 2010. Image courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects.
Ban’s relief projects include housing solutions for residents of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and temporary housing for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Shigeru Ban Architects (SBA) is currently working on a cardboard cathedral project for the City of Christchurch following the February 2011 earthquake in New Zealand. Ban collaborated with professors and students in the Dominican Republic to build 100 shelters made of paper tubes and local materials for victims of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January 2010. Ban offered his services to the United Nations in aid of the victims of the 1999 civil war in Rwanda, and he designed and implemented temporary shelters for victims of Kobe, Japan’s 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake.
Hualin Temporary Elementary School (2008), built in response to the earthquake that struck Sichuan province, China, in May 2008. Image courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects.
Referring to Ban as “The Accidental Environmentalist,” New York Times chief art critic and columnist Michael Kimmelman described him as “an heir to Buckminster Fuller and Oscar Niemeyer, to Japanese traditional architecture and to Alvar Aalto.” “He is an old-school Modernist with a poet’s touch,” Kimmelman added, “and an engineer’s inventiveness.” The new Aspen Art Museum will be SBA’s first US permanent museum to be constructed. Regarding his design for the new building, Ban explains: “In any design I always strive for a unified relationship between the structure and its surroundings. The design for the new AAM is a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between Aspen’s existing architecture and the surrounding beauty of the natural landscape.”
Ban attended the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and later the Cooper Union School of Architecture. In 1985, he opened Shigeru Ban Architects.
Visit the Shigeru Ban Architects website.