This year’s coveted Pritzker Prize goes to an architect best known for his work producing temporary housing out of transient materials, such as paper tubes and plastic beer crates. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban took the prize, in part because of its shelters in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti and Japan.
“His buildings provide shelter, community centers and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction,” the jury said in its citation. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.”
In response to winning this honor, Ban was humbled and admitted that his work had largely been inspired by humanitarian work, not from more glamour endeavors. “I’m trying to understand the meaning of this encouragement,” he said. “It’s not the award for achievement. I have not made a great achievement.”
Each year the Pritzker goes to a living architect whose work has contributed to humanity and the built environment. Recipients of the award receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion, which is awarded in a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Ban joins a short list of renowned architects who have also won the prize, including Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster.
Added Ban, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.”