Why I Love Shigeru Ban

A few days ago, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Prize, a prestigious award given yearly to an accomplished architect with a large portfolio of significant projects.  Being an architect myself, I’m always interested to hear who wins the yearly Pritzker Prize.  When I heard that Shigeru Ban won this year, I was rather excited.  I’ve always admired Ban’s work, especially his humanitarian efforts and his usage of discarded materials (paper tubes, etc.) in his designs.

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I have a soft spot in my heart for Ban, though, because years ago, when I was a lowly student in the architecture program at the University of Utah, I had the privilege of hearing him speak at the AIA Convention taking place in Salt Lake City that year.  My classmates and I, crammed into the standing-room-only convention space in the downtown Hilton Hotel, hung onto every word that Ban spoke.  Here was a master in our midst, providing us a rare opportunity to listen to humble architectural/humanitarian opinion.  I was already a huge fan of Ban’s work, but I have to say, I was most impressed with Ban’s down-to-earth nature and his complete lack of ego (which is usually the trademark of most high-profile architects).  Ban inspired me with his work and his ways.

Congratulations to Shigeru Ban, for earning a well-deserved Pritzker Prize.