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The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is well known for his innovative use of recycled cardboard paper tubes to quickly house disaster victims. He provided emergency refugee shelters for post-civil-war Rwanda, as well as to the homeless after Japan’s Kobe earthquake in 1995 and the 2010 Haitian earthquake. He is currently working on a cardboard tubing cathedral for post-disaster Christchurch, and his Container Temporary Housing project for Onagawa in Japan was recently announced.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11 left half a million people displaced. In Onagawa, 3,800 of the costal town’s 4,500 homes were severely damaged or completely destroyed, and for this area Ban’s firm proposed pastel-coloured multi-story housing made from stacked shipping containers and steel frames that could be quickly erected, as pictured below. Furniture and cooking equipment is being donated by MUJI, and the grounds surrounding the homes will provide the residents with a market and library. Provisional housing like this often ends up going to waste, but Ban is determined that these transportable units will be reused for future disasters.

Currently under construction on the town’s baseball field, the 188 homes are set to be completed on October 15. Future residents are currently sheltered in a nearby gymnasium where Ban installed cardboard tubing partitions as an immediate intervention after the earthquake (pictured above). Since the March disasters, he has set up over 1,800 individual partitions for homeless Japanese families, all funded by donations: the Container Temporary Housing project is receiving government funding, but donations for Shigeru Ban’s relief work are still needed and can be made to the following bank account:

Bank: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

Branch: Higashi Matsubara Branch

Account Name: Voluntary Architects Network

Account No: 3636723 (Futsuu)

Swift Code: BOTKJPJT

Bank Address: 5-2-18 Matsubara, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

If you make a contribution, you are asked to send your contact details to van[at]shigerubanarchitects.com so that you will receive updates on the project.

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Posted by a 8:52 PM, October 3rd, 2011 1 comment


1 Comment

  1. Amelia, thank you for this report. As an architect I have been looking for a way to donate directly for the Tohoku housing crisis. Shigeru Ban is a humble luminary. I have made a deposit and passed this around to my students and colleagues. EK

    Comment by Erwin — October 5, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

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