Architecture with Heart: Exploring the Work of Shigeru Ban

For more photos and videos from Shigeru Ban’s structures around the world, explore the Centre Pompidou-Metz and Cardboard Cathedral location pages and browse the #shigeruban hashtag.

For modernist architect Shigeru Ban, the art of structural design isn’t just an exercise in aesthetics, but rather a means of solving important problems during humanitarian crises.

Though Ban stands as the mind behind iconic structures such as the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Lorraine, France, its his temporary structures that have perhaps garnered the most recognition, earning him this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious honor in the field of modern architecture.

In the wake of massive crises, Ban has lent his skills to designing temporary structures that bring both shelter and beauty to people in need. He has worked with the UN to design refugee shelters for displaced populations in countries like Turkey and Rwanda and has even built two temporary churches in cities shaken my natural disasters. After a powerful quake struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011 and severely damaged the city’s iconic 19th-century cathedral, Ban worked with local firm Warren and Mahoney to build the Cardboard Cathedral. The stunning, A-frame structure was made primarily out of cardboard tubing and paper, Ban predominant materials that are both cheaply accessible during times of crisis and are largely recyclable when the buildings come down.