Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Sustainable architect Shigeru Ban’s eco-friendly approach to architecture goes beyond the “green” phenomena and our 21st century efforts to hybrid and solar panel the world. Ban’s philosophy takes saving energy and using recycled materials to a whole new level, attempting to redefi ne contemporary spaces by making use of ordinary materials with minimal waste production. In May, the Meridian International Center will host Ban for a series of lectures, and his paper houses will be on display at Meridian House and at the National Building Museum.Ban’s notoriety has him doing business everywhere between his hometown of Tokyo, Japan to New York, Western Europe, Rwanda, and back again. His assortment of architectural projects has included everything from posh, eleven-story condominium complexes in West Chelsea to paper-tube bridges and temporary housing for displaced persons. Ban, 43, has become a major philanthropic contributor to refugee causes in places such as Japan, India and Turkey. After seeing photos of the 1994 refugee situation in Rwanda, Ban proposed a plan to replace the
poorlymaintained aluminum and plastic sheet shelters with paper-tube structures. Parts for the new sanctuaries were easily produced even in a third world country like Rwanda, and those living in the camps could build the houses with minimal training.
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