Architect Shigeru Ban wins Pritzker prize

From left: Shigeru Ban, Ban’s church in New Zealand and 524 West 19th Street

Starchitect Shigeru Ban has earned the design industry’s top honor, largely for using his talent and skills to aid humanitarian efforts.

The 56-year-old native of Tokyo earned the Pritzker Architecture Prize for designing temporary structures ranging from emergency shelters built on beer-crate foundations to churches made out of cardboard tubes that have housed displaced victims of natural disasters, the New York Times reported. The prize, first handed out in 1979, honors architects who greatly contribute to humanity or the environment, according to the article.

“His buildings provide shelter, community centers and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction,” the jury said in its citation, the Times reported. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.” Ban is the sixth Japanese architect to receive the prestigious prize. Toyo Ito was the fifth to win it last year.

Ban displayed great modesty in receiving the award, telling the Times:  ”I have not made a great achievement.” In New York City, Ban has worked on more permanent structures, including Camper’s flagship shoe store in Soho and the Metal Shutter Houses condominium building at 524 West 19th Street. [NYT]Angela Hunt

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