Paper Emergency Shelters
Tom Spendlove posted on August 26, 2013 | 11662 views

Shigeru Ban introduces himself as the only architect in the world who makes buildings out of paper.

Since 1986, Ban has been experimenting with paper as a building medium. The first temporary structure was built in 1990 from 55 centimeter wide tubes - 330 of them!

The social consciousness opportunity of the projects surfaced when Ban noted the poor state of Rwandan refugee camps in 1994.

Ban says that architects too often work for the rich and powerful. He now tries to work instead for society, people who need temporary shelter, and people who need homes after natural disasters.

Using principles of architecture, engineering and design he creates buildings that can last "as long as people love them". The notion of permanent versus temporary loses some meaning when the end-user can dictate how long a structure is needed.

Ban's building material of choice is the cardboard tube, but his structures are fortified with bamboo, wood, fabric, plastic and beer crates.

Shigeru Ban’s firm builds different style buildings all over the world. Churches, concert halls and office buildings are all constructed as permanent functioning works of art.

Ban doesn't just build and advocate for paper construction, he lives it. While working in France he was frustrated by the high cost of office rental in Paris.  The solution was to build their office on top of the Pompidou Center, out of cardboard tubes and wooden joints. For the duration of the six year project his team worked rent-free from their makeshift office.

He says the only drawback to the arrangement was that the office was part of an exhibit. Anyone coming to visit his firm needed to buy a ticket.

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