The architecture profession’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, has been awarded to Shigeru Ban. Like many of the previous Pritzker laureates, Ban is a celebrated innovator of building structure. Unlike previous laureates, however, Ban is also well known for his social work, designing shelters after natural disasters in places like Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti, and Japan.
Writing for The Architect’s Newspaper, Alan Brake scooped the formal announcement of the 2014 Pritzker Prize by 30 minutes. Headlined, “A Humble Master, here is how Brake describes Ban’s accomplishments:
“The jury citation notes his innovative use of materials and structure. His satellite museum for the Centre Pompidou in Metz, France, is one such example. A basket-like super structure, made of woven timber covered in a lightweight translucent membrane, caps the complex, creating sheltered indoor/outdoor spaces that help dissolve the physical boundaries of the museum.”
“Ban is widely known for using paper tubes and disused shipping containers to create temporary and permanent structures. Projects like the Paper Church in Kobe, Japan, and Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, have brought dignified places of assembly and reflection to areas after earthquakes and other natural calamities.”
Ban is currently engaged in a couple of major cultural projects: the Aspen Art museum in Colorado and a new concert hall in Paris.
The announcement comes after a tough year for the Pritzker Prize, which has been criticized for a lack of women among its roster. The criticism peaked with a high-profile campaign to include Denise Scott Brown as a 1991 laureate.
Ban is the second consecutive Japanese architect to win the prize, after Toyo Ito won the prize in 2013.