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.

shigeru ban architects: emergency shelter partitions for japan 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.