Shigeru Ban – The paper architect

Shigeru Ban is a renowned Japanese architect known worldwide for his projects and his well-demarcated and unique style. The son of a businessman and a fashion designer, he was born on August 5, 1957, in Tokyo. From an early age, his career has always been linked to the arts. 

shiegeru ban
Shigeru Ban – Architect

Ban decided that he wanted to be an architect when in the 9th grade he designed a model of a house during the summer break and he was elected and exposed as the best of his school. His school career has always been linked to this area having studied at Tokyo University of Arts. Later at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and Cooper Union. Renowned architects include Ricardo Scofidio, Tod Williams, Diana Agrest, Bernard Tschumi, Peter Eisenman and John Hejduk, were his teachers.

La seine musical
La Seine Musicale | Photo by Archidayli

A year after graduating in 1985, Shigeru Ban opened his own architectural office. Professionally and personally Shigeru has always shown a very altruistic and self-help spirit. Having undertaken various projects for NGOs to help and build shelters for example to refugees from the Rwandan war, to the victims of the floods of Japan and the victims of the earthquake Haiti, among others.


He is currently developing projects in Monaco, with the construction of a station on an electric train line and a park in Kentucky. In 2019 completed projects such as Mt. Fuji Shizuoka airport and the headquarters of SWATCH. Shigeru Ban also has other similar projects such as La Seine Musicale, Camper Mallorca, Zaragoza Tower, the New National Stadium (Tokyo) and the Israel National Bookstore. 

Swatch and Omega Headquarters
Swatch and Omega Headquarters | Photo by Dezeen

Shigeru Ban, in addition to his many renowned projects, is known for using paper tubes in his buildings. For example, a structure designed by Ban to host religious events at the North Dame Cathedral (partially destroyed by fire). The structure was constructed of used containers, cardboard tube columns and a tensioned cover. In addition to the cardboard tubes also uses a lot of wood and recycled materials, showing great environmental concern, even before this was a current theme of society. Shigeru was also responsible for developing the project for the world’s largest hybrid wooden tower in Vancouver.

Evergreen Port Living vancouver
Evergreen Port Living Vancouver | Photo by Archidayli

Cardboard Tubes Constructions

Shigeru Ban is the only architect in the world to construct cardboard tube buildings, having started testing this technique using paper tubes as construction in 1986. Having concluded that this material is much stronger than it was judged, it is easy to waterproof and it is also possible to be fireproof. He built the first temporary building made of this material in 1990. In 2000 there was a large exhibition in Germany, where he was invited to design a building and built a pavilion made of recyclable paper tubes. When the exhibition was finished the building was recycled, that was the purpose of building the pavilion that in the end could be recycled or reused. Several projects followed using this technique, which is used by the architect to this day.

Germany Expo by Shigeru Ban
Germany Expo by Shigeru Ban | Photo by Vivadecora

Pritzker Prize

In 2014 he won the Pritzker Prize. An award that aims to “recognize architects who live for excellence in built work and who make a significant and consistent contribution to humanity” (Pritzker Jury, 2014). 

More info –

Leave a Reply

Request Catalogue / Stylish Club


Recent Comments


  • Cookies


Privacy Policy

Consumer Disputes Data Protection Cookies Policy Terms and Conditions