TIME architecture

Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Wins Pritzker Prize

Shigeru Ban
Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects

The 56-year-old architect is known for creating recyclable disaster relief structures, as well as for buildings such as the Center Pompidou-Metz in France, and the Rose Art Museum in Rotterdam, Holland

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, known for designing disaster relief structures made from cardboard and shipping containers, was named winner of the coveted Pritzker Prize for architecture on Monday. He is the second Japanese architect in a row to win after Toyo Ito won in 2013.

The 56-year-old architect called receiving architecture’s answer to the Nobel Prize a “great honor.” Ban said, “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.”

A TIME profile of Ban in 2000 referred to the architect as someone who “wants beauty to be attainable by the masses, even the poorest.” Over the past 20 years, Ban has developed temporary housing units built from cardboard paper tubes in response to disasters around the world. “Refugee shelter has to be beautiful,” Ban told TIME. “Psychologically, refugees are damaged. They have to stay in nice places.”

The architect is also known for more traditional modernist buildings such as the Center Pompidou-Metz in France, and the Rose Art Museum in Rotterdam, Holland. He also designed a new home for the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, which is due to open in August 2014. The jury citation for the 2014 prize reads, “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.”

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