ArchiWEB Explorer: Shigeru Ban

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How to Design Semi-Permanent Structures

Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura

Natural disasters continue to leave thousands of people homeless every year, forcing them to seek refuge without any alternatives. On many occasions, cities cannot cope with refugees, limiting their resources. In addition to this, the difficulties to sustain refugees in a dignified way, becomes increasingly complex, leading to the collapse of conventional strategies.

It is at this moment when innovation and creativity play an important role in construction practices, ultimately creating a quicker and more efficient construction model that can be replicated after natural disasters.

Undoubtedly, there are some principles that should be taken into account when designing a semi-permanent structure. Thus, we have gathered some tips and examples that you may find useful. 

Select Easily Accessible Materials for Faster Construction

Spotlight: Frei Otto

Munich Olympic Stadium. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Munich Olympic Stadium. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn

German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto (31 May 1925 – 9 March 2015) was well known for his pioneering innovations in lightweight and tensile structures. Shortly before his death in 2015 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize and prior to that he was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2006. Much of his research in lightweight structures is as relevant today as when he first proposed them over 60 years ago, and his work continues to inform architects and engineers to this day.

Se Anuncian los Seleccionados del Premio Aga Khan de Arquitectura

The Met Tower, Bangkok, Thailand / WOHA Architects © AKAA / Patrick Bingham-Hall

Desde innovadoras escuelas de bambú y barro hasta altos edificios “verdes”, el Jurado para el Premio 2013 Aga Khan de Arquitectura ha seleccionado a 20 candidatos que merecen estar en la carrera por el prestigioso premios de $ 1,000,000 dolares. Dado que la concesión se inició hace 36 años, más de 100 proyectos han recibido el premio y más de 7.500 proyectos de construcción se han documentado para la exposición de la excelencia arquitectónica y la mejora de la calidad de vida en sus regiones.

Los finalistas en los premios 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture a continuación:

For Aspen Museum, Shigeru Ban Takes His Cue from the Snowy Slopes

Shigeru Ban talks to "Architectural Record" about his design for the new 30,000-square-foot building in central Colorado.

Shigeru Ban Completes Incredible Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand!

Christchurch cardboard cathedral, shigeru ban, disaster relief, cardboard architecture, temporary design, japanese architects, sustainable design, eco-design, green design, church made from cardboard, cathedral made from cardboard, New Zealand cardboard Church

Shigeru Ban’s cardboard cathedral in Christchurch is finally complete, and the first service will be held on Sunday August 11th, 2013. The incredible cardboard structure is a temporary replacement for an Anglican church cathedral that was destroyed in the February, 2011 earthquake that rocked the New Zealand town. It can hold up to 700 people and it’s expected to last the 50 years it will take to build a new church.

Book Review: Architecture Visionaries and Why on Earth...

Architecture Visionaries by Richard Weston
Laurence King Publishing, 2015
Paperback, 312 pages

Why on Earth Would Anyone Build That: Modern Architecture Explained by John Zukowsky
Prestel, 2015
Paperback, 224 pages



As much as I spend my time reading books by and for architects, I have a soft spot for books that attempt to bring the subject to a broader, general audience. These two recent books, both by respected authors (Weston has written books on Aalto and Utzon, among others, and Zukowsky is a former curator of architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago), fall into that category and I review them here accordingly.

Architecture Visionaries portrays 75 of the most well-known and influential architects of the last century and a half. They are arranged chronologically by date of birth, from Antoni Gaudí (b. 1852) to Shigeru Ban (b. 1957). Each "visionary" is given four pages – no more, no less – with a portrait, a page of text by Weston, a short yet indicative quote, photos of important buildings, and a timeline highlighting birth, death (if applicable), graduation, practice, award and other important dates. Oddly, the important buildings are not situated on the timeline.

In Quake-Ravaged Christchurch, Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral Ready for Groundbreaking

A year after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake left Christchurch’s central business district in shambles, Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral is ready to start construction.