Jun 14, 2021

Innovative use of Paper tubes & Cardboard

Let's get to know him!

Shigeru Ban- the winner of prestigious Pritzker prize for his visionary aesthetics and innovative approach addressing contemporary problems through architecture and design using unorthodox materials- is a Japanese architect who has proved himself to be the pioneer for disaster victims. His innovative idea of using cardboard tubes for construction not just helped in creatively designing temporary structures for the areas devastated by natural disasters but also helped him gain acclaim around the globe.

Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Price Winner, The Paper Architect
Everybody has a different perspective towards their design.


Let’s have a glimpse of Ban’s ideologies for materials and his design approach!

Ban was never really interested in the newest materials and techniques, but rather in conveying the concept behind his buildings. He never overly expresses his structural elements but rather chooses to integrate them into his designs. He often uses materials to portray his expressions and follows the theory of 'invisible structures'.

Coming out as a Japanese architect, Ban has used many traditional Japanese methods and themes in his works including the idea of 'Universal floor' which is the method that allows continuity between all the rooms in a house. He has become one of the forerunning Japanese architects who has embraced the expression of Western and Eastern building forms and methods.

Ban is attracted to using cardboard tubes and paper as building materials because it is low cost, recyclable, low-tech, sustainable, produces very little waste, and replaceable. Since he was the first architect ever in Japan for using paper tubes for the construction of his building, it required special approval according to the Japanese building bylaws.


Ecological elements in his plans from the littlest to the biggest scales, counting framework, common sources, neighborhood materials, and environment. The rule objective of Ban's design approach is fulfilling the necessities of present and people in the future. Rather than the cutting-edge plans that are essential to the present design reasonableness, he received an effectively available, prudent, and naturally delicate plan idea. The paper tube structure framework has made his inventive material and configuration approach noticeable. He had the option to foster his framework by accepting the utilization of paper as a guide in Japanese engineering.

As indicated by him, a plan ought to be as savvy and simple to use as it is sturdy. This is why he joins nature with architecture. The most unmistakable highlights of customary Japanese design depend on this mix.

He not only fits in the category of being an "Ecological Architect" but also for being a modernist, a Japanese experimentalist, as well as a rationalist.

Takatori Catholic Church is a temporary church building erected in Kobe after the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. It was donated (deconstructed and moved) to Taiwan in 2005.
Japanese pavilion at the Expo 2000, Hannover (2000)
His use of unorthodox materials was what made him famous. But rarely do people know that his innovation was not just restricted to the use of cardboards as a building material.


Most people focus on Ban's humanitarian efforts made from paper tubes but his material innovation also extends to other structures built with paper tubes, complex wood structures, buildings made from prefabricated components, and buildings that open to the environment through movable glass walls.

Let’s explore the building materials and the projects which were beautifully constructed by Shigeru ban


Although Ban has become well known through his untiring promotion of paper as a construction material, his plans are not restricted to one material alone. Similarly, as the catastrophe help lodging was adjusted relying upon what materials and abilities were accessible locally, each commission of his turns into a union of structure and material. A significant number of Ban's new high-profile projects end up being organized out of wood, even though he initially utilized wood as surface and structure in I House in Tokyo, 1991.


Under the construction framed by 21 tree-like wood segments, the Haesley Nine Bridges Country Club's new structure serves an 18-opening golf course. He has separated the program into two officially and substantially separated regions, with an underground floor and three levels above grade.

The chamber worked of wood and rising nine meters high, contains the gathering zone, reception area, and a member's lounge.

The rooms and remaining help territories are remembered for a base clad with stone (arbitrary rubble masonry common of Korea). The stone platform obliges storage spaces, restrooms, and administrative regions. The light rooftop, sharp at the edges, lays on the structure worked with overlaid fir tree pieces.

The wood strips loosen up from the segments twist to shape the rooftop and create an extraordinary lattice- the type of which reviews the natural course of action of trees or the intricate math of Gothic mesh vaults.

The 4,500 pieces were pre-assembled, which permitted them to control their measurements and joints, ensuring a right get-together on location.

This structure is definitely among his most amazing constructions!
Haesley nine bridges golf clubhouse, Yeoju


While prefab is less a material than a method of building – manufacturing structures off-site and moving them to the building site ready to be fit along with different segments – Ban has exploited the capability of pre-assembled development differently, from the "Contextual analysis Houses" that fused prefab underlying and furniture frameworks, to two undertakings worked from shipping containers. The main container project was the Nomadic Museum, which started in New York in 2005 and later headed out to Santa Monica, California, the next year, and Tokyo in the spring of 2007. Containers were stacked on piers in a checkerboard example to make a long, nave-like space covered by a texture rooftop upheld by huge cardboard cylinders.


Worked with shipping containers, this local area was made to address the deficiency of lodging after the tremor of 2011 in Onagawa, in Miyagi Prefecture. In contrast to the typical emergency units, which need a ton of level land for development, this undertaking expands the structure thickness by stacking multi-story compartments, an answer that additionally decreases development time.

There are three sorts of condos relying upon how the containers are consolidated: for a couple of individuals (19.8 m²), for three or four (29.7 m²), and more than four (39.6 m²). To improve the capacity frameworks, Shigeru Ban himself, introduced wood racks and cupboards in the rooms.

3 Types of Condo layout

Setting the lodging units in three-story lines opens up space in the focal point of the site for public offices like a market, a workshop, and a public venue. These constructions are likewise assembled utilizing delivering holders joined with material rooftops, wood, and paper tubes.

Three-story, Onagawa Temporary container housing


Being the pioneer of paper tube structures, Ban has thought of a structural framework dependent on cardboard cylinder sections. Somewhat recently, Ban has planned recyclable and simple to mount cardboard houses just as planning covers for evacuees and debacle casualties.

Ban while trying different things with elective materials in 1986, was amazed at the strength of the paper and afterward started to utilize paper tubes as primary frameworks.

Although Ban has become a symbol for supporters of 'green' and 'eco-accommodating design', his aim behind his work is somewhat unique. It's more a philosophy against squandering. It's about creation, interest, disclosure, and handling issues with a comical inclination. That paper as delicate, combustible, and modest material is likewise reasonable for making genuine structures appeared to be unbelievable, as of not long ago. For instance, plasterboards, backdrop, and eco-protection from paper shredding. At the point when structures are intended to keep going for a brief time frame, one should attempt to utilize materials that are effortlessly reused.

Paper tubes, made of reused paper, have stable qualities and are uncommonly strong. Paper chambers can be helpfully created and dealt with. Even more fundamentally, they are recyclable. Along these lines, if we use paper tubes, the threat of destroying the environment is minuscule while gaining the materials or disposing of the abundance squander.


For the climate-arranged exhibition, Ban was approached to make a plan that would epitomize Japanese culture. The structure's passage curve is around 73.8 m long, 25 m wide, and 15.9 m high, with a space of 3,015 m2.

Ban teamed up with Frei Otto and Buro Hapold to foster the rooftop's matrix shell framework rather than the paper vault plan he had recently utilized.

Japanese Pavilion, EXPO 2000

In Ban's plan approach for the Japanese Pavilion

  • At the foundation of the development, reusable steel boxes loaded up with sand were utilized rather than concrete trying to diminish development squander.
  • The structure is comprised of the floor surface and top covering. Ban dismantled the construction of his framework without utilizing vertical transport components. The external shell and top covering are effectively removable and reusable.
  • The utilization of the matrix shell framework created by Ban, Otto, and Hapold decreased expenses by limiting the utilization of wooden joints.
  • The rooftop was made of fire and water-safe, clear film. Alongside environmental materials, Ban utilized the conventional Japanese compositional comprehension of shoji, or rooftop framework, to profit from regular light and save energy.
  • The construction's straightforwardness and opportunity of vanity, basic spatial plan, and utilization of environmental materials that can without much of a stretch be coordinated with nature cause the structure to embody its primary subject, Japanese culture, and custom. Hard surface materials were utilized in the person on foot territories around it. An alternate decision of outside deck material and green spaces would better mirror its subject.

The Japanese Pavilion is seen by numerous planners as an essential advance in paper engineering's goal of primary and fire flexibility issues.

Not conclusions, but Beginnings!

The present plans accentuate ecologically delicate and reasonable methodologies. Expanded ecological mindfulness and affectability to the climate are normal. Shigeru Ban, quite possibly the main agent of this methodology, made his plans thinking about both human and ecological components. Ban shows his affectability by thinking about the environment, breaking down materials well, and utilizing materials that don't hurt human wellbeing.

The paper tube framework created by Ban made basic commitments to a supportable plan. Ban consolidates his plans with nature, interfaces with the past, saves energy amplifying the utilization of characteristic light, underscores the client factor, utilizes reused or recyclable materials, all of which add to a maintainable plan approach. Ban's work to utilize innovation in a naturally touchy way and limit material use makes simple mixes and builds the clarity of his constructions, structures, and subtleties. Minimal expense plans and simple to-utilize paper tubes made critical commitments to the supportability because less development squander the finish of constructions' lifetime and the reusability and adaptability of the paper tubes in different plans.

Ban carries a cutting-edge way to deal with customary design. His philanthropic guide projects, his support of the utilization of neighborhood materials, improvement of the utilization of paper in engineering can manage impermanent structure plans and future building plans.


Sriya Singh

Sriya brings the verities to the world by stitching her soul into the fabric of words. Making it to the ground, she is always on toes to plunge into new deals to discover the intricate folds of life.