When he joined critic Judith Thurman for a discussion at the New Yorker Festival on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Ban hesitantly called out some of his peers: “I don?t like the building that uses so much waste just to make a funny shape.”
This statement is not to be taken lightly, for this architect is a rare specimen of “practice what you preach.” Mr. Ban, a Japanese-born architect who studied his craft at SCI-Arch and at Cooper Union (under the famed John Hejduk), has become best known for his post-disaster temporary construction made from recycled paper tubes.
In disaster-ravaged countries across the globe, from Sri Lanka to Italy to Haiti to Japan (and beyond!), Mr. Ban has been on the ground helping to rebuild communities. His commitment is articulated through his ingenious use of recycled paper tubes, which are low-cost and made locally in many different parts of the world; a surprise universal material.
It is easy to be skeptical of this concept. Paper tube structures seem more like a gimmick than a solution, but Mr. Ban has used innovation and adaptability to create inexpensive, sturdy structures in shaken communities. In addition to being locally made around the World, cardboard does not increase in price after a disaster, making it inexpensive to source and use.