Paper Tube Structures

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Paper Structures Emergency Shelters, Renewable edifice

1990s Paper tube strucutres/architecture Shigeru Ban


Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically- sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose. (Filmed at TEDxTokyo.)

Most people look at cardboard tubes and see something fit for the recycling bin. But architect Shigeru Ban turns them into beautiful buildings. Early on in his career, shigeru ban started exploring the structural possibilities of the cardboard tube as a building component, testing its stability and durability in the development of temporary constructions. he discovered that no only was the material strong, but also easy to waterproof and fireproof, making it an afforda- ble, cost-effective material option. having been involved in a number of monumental projects and integrating cardboard tubes into his architectural schemes, ban realized that his practice and selected medium could be pushed further. rather than just being used to cater towards the privileged class, he wanted to apply his exper- tise to contribute to greater society as a whole. since the 1980‘s the japanese architect has been responding to natural disasters across the globe–from kobe, to turkey, china to haiti–with emergency shelters made from his beloved medium, paper. his latest paper construction is the ‚cardboard cathedral‘ which he built for the people of christchurch, new zealand following the 2011 earthquake which hit the city. shigeru ban recently spoke at TEDxTokyo about the responsibility of the architect in the wake of a natural disaster, and why he started to construct emergency shelters out of paper.