Since starting his own firm in Tokyo in 1985, 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA, has spent a career exploring ideas about materiality and a feather-light approach to structure. Best known perhaps for his disaster relief projects featuring paper structures, especially in recent years, Ban has been experimenting with alternative construction systems, including paper tubes, since the late 1980s. The influence of John Hejduk, member of the New York Five and Ban's mentor during his graduate studies at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, led to a portfolio of poetic interpretations of modern structures.
Be it in the soaring latticed vaults of the Centre Pompidou Metz in Paris, the literal fabric walls of his Curtain Wall House, or the delicate cantilevers of his PC Pile House, Ban's signature approach function has been one that allows for experimentation and the pursuit of ideology while still serving client needs. Over the past 29 years, his firm has expanded to three offices, with a permanent outpost in both Paris and New York (and associations with firms in each of those cities), and his roster of built works has expanded to include everything from permeable office towers, to museums, to prefabricated housing. He continues to expand, with his soon-to-be completed Aspen Art Museum in Colo., as well as a host of on-the-boards projects, including a recent commission to design the visitors center for Mt. Fuji.
Here are a few of his most influential built works from over the course of his career, which caught the eyes of the Pritzker judges: