Last year I was so lucky to attended a lecture at the MFA by the inspiring Shigeru Ban, highlighting his work and creative process. Ban is a Japanese architect, internationally recognized for his residential, commercial and humanitarian buildings. His work is one of my personal favorites because of its inherent lightness as well as the incorporation of structural elements as part of the design.
This first home is unique because it not only provides the client a picture perfect view with its window layout, but it literally acts as a frame to a picture. The minimal layout enhances your enjoyment of the view, but at the same time is beautiful in and of itself. Can you imagine living here?
Shigeru Ban is well known for his use of paper tubing (yes paper!) as a structural element. The interior columns of this “Paper Church” in Taiwan are actually large cardboard rolls- like the kind you would find inside a roll of wrapping paper- but on a much larger scale.
But what truly sets Ban apart from his contemporaries is his dedication to humanitarian relief efforts. Through the use of paper structures, Shigeru Ban is able to make affordable, yet beautiful and durable housing that can be built on a very quick timeline. Disaster relief structures are not traditionally designed by architects- however these homes create something both beautiful and livable as opposed to simple makeshift tents. Victims are not only able to rebuild their lives much more quickly, but at the same time, the creation of these villages helps prevent disease and crime often found in refugee camps.
It blows me away to imagine working as a world class architect designing multimillion projects, but at the same time carving away time to work on buildings built for pennies in comparison. Limitations can often lead to great revelations and technologies- in this case, an economical and practical solution for refugee housing. What if everyone carved out years of their careers revolutionizing technologies to help others? Would we change the world? It certainly would be more beautiful.