The award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is noted for his use of inexpensive construction materials such as paperboard and cardboard tubes. While his designs for DIY prefab housing have been adopted by the UN High Commission for Refugees to house earthquake victims in Turkey and Rwanda, Ban has also used these lightweight but sturdy and relatively inexpensive materials to create breathtakingly beautiful homes, pavilions and churches.
SHIGERU BAN features extensive interviews with this innovative young architect (b. 1957), who explains the practical, philosophical and esthetic aspects of his work. In addition to his conservationist interest in using recycled materials, Ban discusses his influences, his concerns with the bidimensional and tridimensional nature of his buildings, his aim to incorporate structural elements into the overall designs, as well as their sensitivity to light and shade, which lends unusual vitality to his buildings.
The film shows the construction of Ban's prefab designs—utilizing cardboard tubes, beer cases and plastic-sheet roofs—for temporary but surprisingly attractive housing for earthquake victims in Turkey. SHIGERU BAN also provides stunning views of many of Ban's major buildings, whose design concepts he explains in voice-over commentary, including the massive Japanese Pavilion for the 2000 Exposition in Hanover, Germany; the Paper Dome in Gero, Japan; the House with Double Roof in Yamanaka Lake, Japan; the Miyake Design Studio Gallery, the Hanegi Forest Home and the Ivy Structure 2 in Tokyo; the GC Building in Osaka; the Paper Church in Kobe; and the 9 Square Grids House in Hadano.
In showcasing the designs of one of the most innovative architects at work today, SHIGERU BAN reveals that an emphasis on issues of conservation, economy, and accessibility does not necessarily involve a sacrifice in architectural beauty.
"The film shows the initiatives of an architect in action who proposes another way of thinking about housing, an architecture that responds to the new needs of contemporary society."—2004 Architecture and Urbanism Film Festival Catalog
2007 Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting
2004 Architecture and Urbanism Film Festival
"A helpful, inspiring look at Ban's architectural philosophy...In 2000, Time Magazine chose him as one of the new century's leading innovators. Very likely they were right, and it would surely be wise to find out more about this resourceful architect."—Ballast Quarterly Review
"One of the most important underlying themes in Ban's work [is] invisible structure. He avoids overt expressions of structure, or 'structure-for-structure's sake,' and instead adheres to a construction method in which structure is integrated into the overall design."—Matilda McQuaid, Author of Shigeru Ban