Shigeru Ban is not your average architect. It started 20 years ago when he couldn't
afford the cost of wood and stumbled on some used paper tubes lying around. He
decided to utilize them instead and fell in love with the paper tube. He made
paper-tube ceiling panels and partitions for an exhibition, and then he went on to
experiment with them structurally, forming paper tubes into walls. They proved to
be strong enough to support a roof, and he produced many classical pavilions and
houses and all kinds of structures from the paper tubes.
Lately, Ban has been weaving slimmer tubes into self-supporting lightweight
lattices. (Shown right) In the beginning people claimed his ideas of building with
paper tubes was ridiculous and now he has become one of the most famous
architects in the world. This honor is well deserved not only for his spectacular
designs but his genuine care for people in need.
In 1994, Bans designs became more serious and more real when he designed the
most heartwarming applications for the paper tube to date. He was able to
construct shelters for the homeless refugees in Rwanda. He was disheartened
when he saw that the United Nations gave poor plastic sheeting to the refugees.
Ban's simple paper-tube frames turned the plastic sheeting into quality shelters.