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Architect with humanitarian focus wins top architecture prize
March 27, 2014 at 6:48 PM EDT
This year’s recipient of architecture’s top award — the Pritzker Prize — has designed innovative structures for people suffering from hardship and disaster for more than 20 years. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban helps his profession focus more on serving those in need. Jeffrey Brown offers a closer look at Ban’s work.


SHIGERU BAN, Architect, Pritzker Prize Winner: After I became an architect, I was very disappointed about my profession as architect, because we are mostly working for privileged people.
But I can use my experience and knowledge more for general public or even for somebody who lost their houses by natural disasters.


Pritzker Architecture Prize Goes to Shigeru Ban
Architecture generally involves creating monuments to permanence from substantial materials like steel and concrete. Yet this year, the discipline’s top award is going to a man who is best known for making temporary housing out of transient materials like paper tubes and plastic beer crates.

On Monday, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was named the winner of this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, largely because of his work designing shelters after natural disasters in places like Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti and Japan.

“His buildings provide shelter, community centers and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction,” the jury said in its citation. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.”

In a telephone interview from Paris, Mr. Ban, 56, said he was honored to have won, not because the Pritzker would raise his profile but because it affirms the humanitarian emphasis of his work. “I’m trying to understand the meaning of this encouragement,” he said of the prize. “It’s not the award for achievement. I have not made a great achievement.”

プリツカー賞のサイトの発表です。Announcementにしては珍しく「〜賞は〜さんに授与されます」といった表現が最初の部分にないですね。昨年はToyo Ito, a 71 year old architect whose architectural practice is based in Tokyo, Japan, will be the recipient of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize.のような書き出しでした。

Shigeru Ban, a Tokyo-born, 56-year-old architect with offices in Tokyo, Paris and New York, is rare in the field of architecture. He designs elegant, innovative work for private clients, and uses the same inventive and resourceful design approach for his extensive humanitarian efforts. For twenty years Ban has traveled to sites of natural and man-made disasters around the world, to work with local citizens, volunteers and students, to design and construct simple, dignified, low-cost, recyclable shelters and community buildings for the disaster victims.

Reached at his Paris office, Shigeru Ban said, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“

In all parts of his practice, Ban finds a wide variety of design solutions, often based around structure, materials, view, natural ventilation and light, and a drive to make comfortable places for the people who use them. From private residences and corporate headquarters, to museums, concert halls and other civic buildings, Ban is known for the originality, economy, and ingeniousness of his works, which do not rely on today’s common high-tech solutions.
The Swiss media company Tamedia asked Ban to create pleasant spaces for their employees. 
He responded by designing a seven-story headquarters with the main structural system entirely 
in timber. The wooden beams interlock, requiring no metal joints.

伊東豊雄さんや坂茂さんなど受賞者が日本人というだけで何か誇らしく感じてしまいますが、社会への貢献的なことが受賞のポイントとなっているのかもしれませんので、そちらの方が重要なことでしょう。In a telephone interview from Paris, Mr. Ban, 56, said he was honored to have won, not because the Pritzker would raise his profile but because it affirms the humanitarian emphasis of his work.と坂茂さんも語っていますね。