Beauty, Social Issues Come Together In Architect Ban’s Retrospective

Beauty, social issues come together in architect Ban’s retrospectiveRenowned architect Shigeru Ban is known for his diverse and wide-ranging works, which are being showcased at a major retrospective at Art Tower Mito’s Contemporary Art Gallery and Plaza, in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, and will be followed by other major events around the world.

Ban, 55, continues to deliver his vision of spotlighting the social side of architecture without forfeiting quality of expression.

He created an outpost of The Centre Pompidou in Paris in Metz, in eastern France. He is also known for his choice of renewable materials, building with cardboard and paper tubes. Ban is an avid disaster relief activist, creating emergency shelters around the world and putting his skills to use for the public's benefit.

The Shigeru Ban--Architecture and Humanitarian Activities Exhibition in Mito covers Ban’s appealing arc, from his early works including the paper-and-cardboard chashitsu tea house; a 1/15 scale model of the Japan Pavilion exhibited at EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany; numerous emergency shelters he installed in disaster areas around the globe; a mock-up of the woven timber structure columns from the Centre Pompidou-Metz, which is considered one of his masterpieces. There are many full-scale exhibits on display.

“I am not a creator who focuses on polishing minute details in design," Ban said. "For me, it’s more like a child playing with a set of wooden blocks, trying to build something. I hope the visitors will enjoy that aspect through these large-scale models.”