Architect Shigeru Ban has been announced as the 2014 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Known best for projects such as the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France, and Cardboard Cathedral in New Zealand, Shigeru Ban is highly respected for his humanitarian work in disaster relief projects across the world.
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.
Shigeru Ban’s work is often seen as “sustainable” and environmentally friendly, however he declares that: “When I started working this way, almost thirty years ago, nobody was talking about the environment. But this way of working came naturally to me. I was always interested in low cost, local, reusable materials.” His use of unconventional materials such as bamboo, fabric, and paper show a different side of architecture; one that can be creative, yet simple, dignified and low-cost.
Shigeru Ban is a force of nature, which is entirely appropriate in the light of his voluntary work for the homeless and dispossessed in areas that have been devastated by natural disasters. But he also ticks the several boxes for qualification to the Architectural Pantheon — a profound knowledge of his subject with a particular emphasis on cutting edge materials and technology; total curiosity and commitment; endless innovation; an infallible eye; an acute sensibility — to name but a few.
– Lord Palumbo – Pritzker Prize Jury Chairman
The jury explains Shigeru Ban’s involvment in today’s architecture, his impact, and why he highly deserves the prestigious award. “Through excellent design, in response to pressing challenges, Shigeru Ban has expanded the role of the profession; he has made a place at the table for architects to participate in the dialogue with governments and public agencies, philanthropists, and the affected communities. His sense of responsibility and positive action to create architecture of quality to serve society’s needs, combined with his original approach to these humanitarian challenges, make this year’s winner an exemplary professional.”
Moreover, the jury describes him as 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.”
Shigeru Ban’s commitment to humanitarian causes through his disaster relief work is an example for all. Innovation is not limited by building type and compassion is not limited by budget. Shigeru has made our world a better place.
– Tom Pritzker
Shigeru Ban is the seventh Japanese architect to receive the prestigious award, alongside names like Kengo Tange (1987), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Tadao Ando (1995), Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (2010), and Toyo Ito (2013). The award ceremony will take place on June 13, 2014, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, in Netherlands. The Pritzker Prize ceremony will be streamed live on the website of Pritzker Architecture Prize.