Unique architectural constructions around the world (P.73) - Papertube houses: Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian architecture (Japan)


(WorldKings.org) 2014 Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban may be as well known for his innovative use of materials as for his compassionate approach to design. For a little over three decades, Ban, the founder of the Voluntary Architects Network, has applied his extensive knowledge of recyclable materials, particularly paper and cardboard, to constructing high-quality, low-cost shelters for victims of disaster across the world — from Rwanda to Haiti, to Turkey, Japan, and more.

Paper Log Houses (1995) Kobe, Japan

The foundation consists of donated beer crates loaded with sandbags. The walls are made from 106mm diameter, 4mm thick paper tubes, with tenting material for the roof. The 1.8m space between houses was used as a common area. For insulation, a waterproof sponge tape backed with adhesive is sandwiched between the paper tubes of the walls. The cost of materials for one 52 square meter unit is below $2000. The unit is easy to dismantle, and the materials easily disposed or recycled.

Paper Emergency Shelters for UNHCR (1999) Byumba Refugee Camp, Rwanda

More than 2 million people became homeless when the civil war broke out in Rwanda in 1994. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) normally supplied plastic sheets and aluminum poles to be rigged as temporary shelters. Rwandan refugees would sell the aluminum poles and then proceed to cut down trees to use branches for structural support. Contributing to already critical deforestation, it was obvious that alternative materials had to be found. A low-cost alternative, paper tubes, was introduced. The proposal was adopted and the development of prototype shelters began.

Three prototype shelters were designed and tested for durability, assessed for cost, and termite-resistance. Since paper tubes can be manufactured cheaply and by small and simple machinery, the potential to produce the materials on-site to reduce transportation costs. In 1998, fifty emergency shelters were constructed in Rwanda and monitored to evaluate the system in practical use.

Hualin Temporary Elementary School (2008) Chengdu, China

This collaborative project between Japanese and Chinese universities involved the design and construction of paper-tube-structured temporary classrooms at the elementary school struck by the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008.

During the summer vacation, about 120 Japanese and Chinese volunteers worked together on the construction. The team developed simple building methods and plans suited to unskilled people such as volunteers. With appropriate construction management, three buildings (nine classrooms) were completed in about forty days. These were the first buildings in China to have a paper-tube structure and were also the first school buildings to be rebuilt in the earthquake-stricken area.

Paper Concert Hall (2011) L'aquila, Italy

In response to the earthquake that occurred on April 6, 2009, in L'Aquila, Italy, the G8 Summit of nations was held there in July of the same year. The Japanese government announced its plan to build a temporary concert hall, proposed by Shigeru Ban, to support the reconstruction of the city, famous for its music scene. The aim was to construct a paper concert hall that is easy to assemble and durable, for an early resumption of musical activities in the city.

Cardboard Cathedral (2013) Christchurch, New Zealand

The 2011 Christchurch earthquake inflicted crippling damage on the Christchurch Cathedral which was the symbol of the city. In response to this situation, architect Shigeru Ban was asked to design a new temporary cathedral. Paper tubes of equal length and 20 ft containers form a triangular shape. This cathedral, which has a capacity of 700 people, can be used as an event space and a concert space.

According to archdaily.com

Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)


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