Pioneering architect Ban to discuss humanitarian activities

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, known for his pioneering use of low-cost materials such as paper and bamboo, will speak on “Works and Humanitarian Activities” for the School of Architecture and Visiting East Asian Professionals Program in Arts & Sciences at 7 p.m. Feb. 29.

The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Gallery of Art’s Steinberg Auditorium. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Givens Hall.

Ban’s work is notable for linking natural and built environments and for its economic use of resources.

As a consultant for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in the early and mid-1990s, Ban created emergency housing from paper tubes for victims of the Rwandan civil war — designs that were redeployed for victims of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Light, environmentally friendly and easy to transport, store and recycle, these structures featured paper walls, foundations of sand-filled beer cases and ceilings and roofs of tenting fabric.

In the United States, Ban is perhaps best know for his Curtain Wall House in Tokyo, a highlight of the Museum of Modern Art’s 1999 exhibition The UnPrivate House. Other projects include a small museum in Dijon, France, constructed of paper and steel; four homes in Portugal, also employing paper; and a series of bamboo residences near the Great Wall in Beijing.

Born in Tokyo in 1957, Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Cooper Union School of Architecture, where he graduated in 1984. He opened his own Tokyo-based practice the following year.

Shigeru Ban, the first English-language monograph of his work, was published in 2000.

While at the University, Ban will begin a series of workshops with architecture students that, over the course of the spring semester, will develop a publicly scaled temporary construction outside Givens Hall. The project is following last semester’s residency by master carpenter Tamotsu Edo of Awajishima, Japan, who worked with students to construct and install a traditional Japanese teahouse waiting bench in the Elizabeth Danforth Butterfly Garden.

For more information, call 935-6200.

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