Shigeru Ban – 2014 Pritzker Laureate
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 travelled 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.
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.
Shigeru Ban is a force of nature, which is entirely appropriate in the light of his voluntary work for the homeless and dispossessed in areas that have been devastated by natural disasters. But he also ticks the several boxes for qualification to the Architectural Pantheon - a profound knowledge of his subject with a particular emphasis on cuttingedge materials and technology; total curiosity and commitment; endless innovation; an infallible eye; an acute sensibility - to name but a few, says Pritzker Prize jury chairman, The Lord Palumbo.
The citation from the Pritzker Prize jury underscores Ban’s experimental approach to common materials such as paper tubes and shipping containers, his structural innovations, and creative use of unconventional materials such as bamboo, fabric, paper, and composites of recycled paper fiber and plastics.
Ban was quoted as saying that he sees the prize as encouragement for him to keep doing what he's doing – not to change what he's doing, but to grow.
Each year the Pritzker goes to a living architect whose work has contributed to humanity and the built environment. Ban will receive a $100 000 grant and a bronze medallion to be awarded on 13 June 2014 in a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.