shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan
shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan
mar 17, 2011

shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan

shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan




shigeru ban architects is distributing cardboard partition systems to the gymnasiums currently functioning throughout tohoku as emergency shelters. information about donating to the project can be found on the studio’s ‘japan earthquake‘ page.


the lack of privacy at disaster evacuation sites frequently contributes to further emotional distress among the individuals and families there. shigeru ban’s cardboard-based modular partition system provides an fast, low cost, and flexible solution to this problem.

the partition system is based on the needs and constraints the architect witnessed in response to emergency situations over the past seven years. these photographs show their early experiments with cardboard-based modular shelter design.




with their flagship studio in tokyo, and featuring worldwide a body of work that includes significant use of paper and cardboard in construction, shigeru ban has offered their material expertise in disaster situations before, beginning with the earthquake in niigata in 2004. constant revisions with each emergency have led to the current model of their partition system, in which cardboard tubing functions as strut-beams, with plywood joints, ropes for bracing, and white cloth for walls. each module measures 180cm square, and different sized rooms are established based on where the fabric walls are hung.

  • ah…How about the cold weather …

    Acen says:
  • its not about the cold weather, its about cheaply and efficiently structuring and dividing gigantic shelters for people who have lost everything personal apart from what was on their body at the time the earthquake/tsunami hit.

    tnt says:
  • They modules do also have panels to insulate the floor, just as people living on the street sleep on cardboard……however the cold is becoming more and more of an issue as many shelters seem to lack resources for heating

    tnt says:
  • is this newsworthy? fabric and cardboard. a bit distasteful to market unimaginative charity work.

    mpls says:
  • well, the dude is famous, so…

    LML says:
  • ….. to the gymnasiums.

    mayday says:
  • simple and generous solution for people who’d otherwise be without any privacy or comfort. Shigeru Ban knows his people and seems to know what their priority is at this time of emergency. Deep respect!

    Ed says:
  • Great!

    Ivan says:
  • i’ve stayed in emergency shelters, and the almost complete lack of privacy is an issue always overlooked, perhaps because those making decisions are not sleeping on the floor with the rest of us. this is a great idea, perfectable, but a fine first step in the right direction.

    stevo says:
  • If you have ever been thru a natural disaster you would know that any sense of privacy and a comfortable place to sleep are priceless. Great idea and great use of materials


    christopher says:
  • Wow, what a simple, cheap, lightweight, and effective method of restoring at least some personal privacy and family dignity.

    An awesome idea! Plus, eco-friendly and recyclable. GREAT JOB!

    Dr. Heywood Floyd says:

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