CRISIS > a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, environmental, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

CS04__Shigeru Ban's Paper Log Houses

Shigeru Ban is a practicing architect from Japan who has been experimenting with the use of paper-product materials in his architecture for nearly twenty years. In response to the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Ban organized and executed the erection of several temporary relief structures meant to house those who were still left homeless after the quake. The project later became known as the paper log house.

The concept uses paper tubes with thick walls that erected vertically side-by-side to form a load-bearing wall to receive another light-weight roof structure sheathed with a water repelling tent fabric. The tubes were sealed for waterproofing purposed and could be filled with shredded paper insulation. For a foundation and base, plastic beer crates were arranged into building footprint and weighted down with sandbags. The roof structure can be configured to allow for venting and passive cooling during summer months, and in the case of Kobe, they could easily be fitted with a heating unit that is conventionally used for typical housing in Japan. The overall time of assembly and construction for each unit is six hours.

Similar installations of the paper log house have been erected in Kenya, India, and Turkey. In those cases, local materials and building conventions were integrated with the original design to meet specific needs for the region.

Architectural Review, SEPT 1996

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