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Tag: Prizes (Page 2 of 4)

Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Becomes 2014 Pritzker Laureate

 

Shigeru Ban, a Tokyo-born, 56-year-old architect is the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

Reached at his Paris office, Shigeru Ban said, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“

 

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Shigeru Ban, the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Shigeru started his practice without any working experience right after he graduated from Cooper Union (New York). He is well known for making monumentality out of cardboard.

Shigeru has used cardboard tubes to build a number of structures. He hates to thrown things away, and in 1985 when he was left with lots of cardboard tubes from an exhibition he designed for Emilio Ambasz, he decided to re-use them for an exhibition for Alvar Aalto. This was the first time he began experimenting with spatial applications for cardboard tubes.

Ban's Alvar Aalto Exhibition (1986) in Tokyo, where he first began experimenting with spatial applications for cardboard tubes.

Alvar Aalto Exhibition,1986, Tokyo

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Ban’s humanitarian work began in response to the 1994 conflict in Rwanda, which threw millions of people into tragic living conditions. Ban proposed paper-tube shelters to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and they hired him as a consultant.

Paper Log House, 1995, Kobe, Japan

Paper Log House, 1995, Kobe, Japan

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Shigeru Ban reflects the spirit of the prize to the fullest. He is an outstanding architect who, for twenty years, has been responding with creativity and high quality design to extreme situations caused by devastating natural disasters. His buildings provide shelter, community centers, and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction. When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning, as in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Italy, and Haiti, and his home country of Japan, among others.

 

Paper Temporary Studio, 2004, Paris, France

Paper Temporary Studio, 2004, Paris, France

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His own studio, a top terrace at the Pompidou Center in Paris for the six years he was working on the museum project for Metz, was built using cardboard tubes and a membrane covering the arched roof.

 

Cardboard Cathedral, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand

Cardboard Cathedral, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand

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In an interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1999 Shigeru Ban said  “this material is much stronger than I expected. People have the preconceived idea that paper is very weak, but paper is an industrial material: we can make it fire retardant or waterproof, and we can make it as strong as wood. I started testing the strength of paper tube and found it was strong enough to make a building structrure.”

 

Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000 Hannover, 2000, Germany

Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000 Hannover, 2000, Germany

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For Shigeru Ban, sustainability is not a concept to add on after the fact; rather, it is intrinsic to architecture. His works strive for appropriate products and systems that are in concert with the environment and the specific context, using renewable and locally produced materials, whenever possible.

 

Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club House, 2010, Korea

Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club House, 2010, Korea

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Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism. Where others may see insurmountable challenges, Ban sees a call to action. Where others might take a tested path, he sees the opportunity to innovate. He is a committed teacher who is not only a role model for younger generations, but also an inspiration.

 

Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, France

Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, France

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We have selected some interesting excerpts from Shigeru Ban’s interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1999.

HUO: Hassan Fathy wrote in the 1960’s on architecture for the poor. He says that for very few dollars it would be possible to grant housing to everybody all over the world, and solve the world’s housing problem. This seems to be a contemporary form of Fathy’s philosophy: housing for all. Was this social dimension of architecture always important for you, or was it triggered by some special momentum?

SB: When I came back form the United States, I was very shocked to know that in Japan, people didn’t respect architects. I thought about why: historically we didn’t have architects only 120 years ago we invited English architects to educate the people. Before, all Japanese building was built by carpenters, and none of their names remains. We don’t have a long history of architects. I thought it is the reason why architects are not respected in Japan, but that was not the real reason.

When I experienced the economic boom, many architects were just building monuments to show their ego. Architects are generally very egoistic, including me, I’d like to build my monument, too; there’s no doubt about that. But it’s not the only thing I want to do. I wanted to use my skills and knowledge for for a society. The reason I worked for Kobe and Rwanda, is, obviously, the humanitarian feeling, but also to develop my ideas further and apply them at the same time, as long as I’m satisfying the humanitarian need. The two things are mixed together.

HUO: Buildings are ephemeral…

SB: I’m always asked how long the paper structure will last. I always ask them in return how long they think wooden construction lasts. There are so many buildings in Japan which have lasted over five hundred years and more . Wood is very weak for water, even termite, but we invented beautiful joineries to replace damaged parts, so the life span of the material has nothing to do with the life span of the building, even when the material is weak, we can exchange it, so the life span of the building can go on forever. I don’t know about the durability of the life span, but it must last a very long time. But it doesn’t matter how long the paper tube lasts; if it’s damaged I can change it, so the building itself lasts forever.

HUO: So it’s actually a cliche.

SB: Yes. I think it’s interesting to show Western people the cliche. Also, this may be the traditional way of Japanese thinking. We use weak materials the way they are; I can build the papertube much stronger, even much stronger than wood, but I have no interest in making stronger materials. I’m interested in using a weak material the way it is. So that I need a weak material to create this very special space.

 

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Toyo Ito Wins the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2013

 

 

 

 

Toyo Ito of Japan is the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

 

 

 

 

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Toyo Ito, the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

 

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 to annually honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. It has often been described as “architecture’s most prestigious award” or as “the Nobel of architecture.”

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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, 2002, London, U.K.

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Toyo Ito was born on June 1, 1941 in Keijo (Seoul), Korea (Japanese). His father was a business man with a special interest in the early ceramic ware of the Yi Dynasty of Korea and Japanese style paintings. In 1943, Ito, his mother, and his two elder sisters moved back to Japan. Two years later, his father returned to Japan as well, and they all lived in his father’s hometown of Shimosuwa-machi in Nagano Prefecture. His father died in 1953, when he was 12. After that the rest of family operated a miso (bean paste) making factory. At present, all but one sister who is three years older than Ito, have died.

Ito established his own architecture office in 1971, and the following year he married. His wife died in 2010.

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Sendai Mediatheque, 1995—2000, Sendai-shi, Miyagi, Japan
Photo by Tomio Ohashi

 

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Toyo Ito calls the Sendai Mediatheque, completed in 2001 in Sendai City, Miyagi, Japan, one of the high points of his career. In the Phaidon book, Toyo Ito, he explains, “The Mediatheque differs from conventional public buildings in many ways. While the building principally functions as a library and art gallery, the administration has actively worked to relax divisions between diverse programs, removing fixed barriers between various media to progressively evoke an image of how cultural facilities should be from now on. This openness is the direct result of its simple structure, consisting of flat concrete slabs (which are honey-comb steel plates with concrete) penetrated by 13 tubes. Walls on each floor are kept to an absolute minimum, allowing the various functions to be freely distributed throughout the open areas between the tubes.“

 

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Za-Koenji Public Theatre, 2005—2008, Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Toyo Ito has received numerous international awards, including in 2010, the 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu; and in 2006, The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal; and in 2002, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for 8th Venice Biennale International Exhibition.

 

Calling him a “creator of timeless buildings,” the Pritzker Jury cites Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.

 

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Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall, 2004—2006, Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu, Japan

 

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Toyo Ito made this comment in reaction to winning the prize:

“Architecture is bound by various social constraints. I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realize more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all the restrictions even for a little bit. However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future. Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works,” he concluded

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Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre, 2000—2004, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano, Japan
Photo by Hiroshi Ueda

 

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Ito has said that he strives for architecture that is fluid and not confined by what he considers to be the limitations of modern architecture.

When interviewed by Liddell in 2007 Ito commented “That process from creation to realization is very difficult to explain, because, generally speaking, when I imagine something, there’s no gravity and there’s nothing restricting imagination, but when we embark on the process of realization, we have to enter the real world.”

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Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, 2006—2011, Imabari-shi, Ehime, Japan
Photo by Daici Ano

 

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Toyo Ito museum of Architecture opened in 2011 and showcases his past projects as well as serving as a workshop for young architects.

 

 

“Firmness, Commodity and Delight”

 

If you want to learn more about the Pritzker Architecture Prize check out the beautiful infographic created by Innovus. Click in the image below to see full infographic.

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 Infographic by @Innovusdecors

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And the Pritzker Prize 2012 Goes to…………Wang Shu

 

 

Wang Shu of The People’s Republic of China is the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

 

 

Wang Shu, the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Wang Shu, the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

 

The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. Often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor,” it is granted annually.

 

Five Scattered Houses, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lang Shuilong.

Five Scattered Houses, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lang Shuilong.

 

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Wang Shu has often explained in lectures and interviews that “to me architecture is spontaneous for the simple reason that architecture is a matter of everyday life. When I say that I build a ‘house’ instead of a ‘building’, I am thinking of something that is closer to life, everyday life. When I named my studio ‘Amateur Architecture’, it was to emphasize the spontaneous and experimental aspects of my work, as opposed to being ‘official and monumental’.”

 

Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong

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As a child Wang Shu moved around a lot with his parents living in houses as small as 15 sq.m.

When living in Xi’an, 1,000km west of Beijing, his family didn’t have a television. They use to sat on one bed chatting in the evening, which gave him a happy and interesting experience, he says.

Ceramic House, 2003-2006, Jinhua, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong

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Wang Shu felt the Tangshan earthquake in Xi’an in 1976. His family had to move to a bamboo shed where hundreds of families lived together. Each family was given an area the size of a double bed and they lived there for three months until they built a house with only 15 sq metre and one room!

 

Ningbo History Museum, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong

Ningbo History Museum, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong

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His philosophy of paying scrupulous attention to the environment suggests that buildings located between water and mountains should not be prominent.

 

Ningbo History Museum, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong.

Ningbo History Museum, Ningbo, China. Photo by Lv Hengzhong.

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True to his methods of economy of materials, he salvaged over two million tiles from demolished traditional houses to cover the roofs of the campus buildings.

 

Vertical Courtyard Apartments, Hangzhou, China. Photo by Lu Wenyu.

Vertical Courtyard Apartments, Hangzhou, China. Photo by Lu Wenyu.

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Wang Shu is attracted by the variety of buildings just like the different lifestyles people have.He is certainly a gifted dreamer with an amazing life experience.

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about the Pritzker Architecture Prize check out the beautiful infographic created by Innovus. Click in the image below to see full infographic.

 

 Infographic by @Innovusdecors

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