Shigeru Ban, “Balancing Architectural Works and Social Contributions”

Building with curved white roof and people standing nearby. The sky is bright blue.

Centre Pompidou-Metz. Photo by Didier Boy de la Tour.

Event Description

Shigeru Ban was born in Tokyo in 1957. After studying architecture in the United States, he established Shigeru Ban Architects in Tokyo in 1985. He currently has offices in Tokyo, Paris, and New York. Known for his innovative architecture using wood, paper, and bamboo, his designs, coupled with his commitment to environmental and ecological design, have received numerous awards and constant recognition from prominent institutions around the world. 

In 1995, he founded the NGO VAN (Voluntary Architects Network). Asking himself what architects can do to benefit society, he has been working for nearly 30 years to provide assistance to war refugees and disaster-stricken areas around the world. He will talk about the beginnings, driving force, and wishes of Shigeru Ban, an architect who continues various activities. 


Headshot of Shigeru Ban, who wears a black shirt.Shigeru Ban was born in Tokyo in 1957. He graduated from the Cooper Union and started working for Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1982 before founding Shigeru Ban Architects in 1985. He became a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1995 and established the NGO, Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) in the same year to support disaster relief. Selected works include Centre Pompidou-Metz, Oita Prefecture Art Museum, Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre, Shizuoka, Musical Complex of La Seine Musicale, and Swatch Omega Headquarters. Shigeru Ban Architects have been the recipients of multiple awards, including Grande Médaille d’or de l’Académie d’architecture, France (2004), Grand Prize of AIJ (2009) , le grade d’officier for L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2010), Auguste Perret Prize (2011), Art Prize from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (2012), le grade de commandeur for L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2014), Pritzker Architecture Prize (2014), Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, Japan (2017), Mother Teresa Social Justice Award (2017) and Princess of Asturias Award for Concord (2022). Ban is also an ambassador among “distinguished thinkers and practitioners” for the New European Bauhaus high-level roundtable (2021). He is currently Special Guest Professor at Shibaura Institute of Technology. 

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