Projects 34 & 35

SCAF's 2017 Programme
Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban Architects, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, 2010
Photo: Didier Boy de la Tour

Shigeru Ban Architects, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, 2010
Photo: Didier Boy de la Tour

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation to present Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s first Australian project

– Shigeru Ban to represent SCAF’s final project before evolving into a new contemporary centre for ideas and culture –

Sydney, Australia: Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) today announced Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban will design two architectural installations to be presented in Sydney from 25 March until 1 July 2017, marking the architect’s first Australian project. Shigeru Ban’s installations will also represent the final project to be presented by SCAF before the Foundation evolves into a contemporary centre for ideas and culture.


Shigeru Ban’s 2017 SCAF project echoes the Foundation’s inaugural 2008 Ai Weiwei Project at a number of significant levels. Born in Japan and China respectively in 1957 – these creative titans share a number of preoccupations which resonate strongly with me personally. Via art & architecture they both actively engage with society at large, focussing on the dispossessed, the homeless and the disempowered. Their methodologies may differ; their goals clearly intersect. With this exhibition, SCAF will bookend its ten years as a commissioning institution with two of the cultural world’s internationally renowned elder statesmen’. said Dr Gene Sherman, Executive Director SCAF.

SCAF’s exhibition will shine a spotlight on Japanese architect Ban’s pioneering and resourceful designs and importantly his dedication to humanitarian efforts around the world.

For the first time SCAF’s interior and exterior spaces will feature the work of a single practitioner. The Courtyard Garden installation will feature two of Shigeru Ban’s signature disaster relief shelters; one of his first from Kobe (1995) positioned in comparison to his latest disaster relief design for the Ecuador earthquake (2016).

The interior gallery presentation will highlight key ‘stepping stones’ from Shigeru Ban Architects’ 2000 Japan Pavilion in Hannover, Germany, to the celebrated 2013 Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. An immersive, scaled version of the Cardboard Cathedral will feature as centrepiece, complemented by a four-metre scale model of Ban’s Japan Pavilion, and selected components of his work.

Temporary architecture, in disaster zones, is Ban’s calling card. For over 20 years, the 2014 winner of the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s Nobel Prize, has best been known for his humanitarian work. From Rwanda to Japan to Nepal he has turned cheap, locally sourced materials—sometimes even debris—into disaster-relief housing that “house both the body and spirit”.

Ban’s simple and dignified architectural works have provided relief to victims of mass displacement, tsunamis, earthquakes, and mega disasters, both natural and manmade. His long history of humanitarian design started with his UN consultancy work in the 1994 Rwanda conflict, where he first proposed shelters made from paper tubes. Over time, he carried his paper tube concept to other disaster relief projects from a “Paper Log House” designed for the community in Kobe to temporary housing for the victims of the 2011 Onagawa earthquake. His creative use of common and often unconventional materials in disaster relief projects expanded to include bamboo, fabric, paper, and recycled composites.

Shigeru Ban comments: “Architects mostly work for privileged people, people who have money and power. Power and money are invisible, so people hire us to visualise their power and money by making monumental architecture. I love to make monuments, too, but I thought perhaps we can use our experience and knowledge more for the general public, even for those who have lost their houses in natural disasters.”

Aside from shelter housing, Shigeru Ban Architects have created major cultural institutions including Centre Pompidou-Metz, France and soon-to-be-opened Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre, Japan; the Cité musicale de l’Île Seguin, Paris, France; and various other commercial projects, academic buildings (Seikei University Library, Japan), private residences and exhibitions.

Shigeru Ban will be in Sydney for the final preparations and opening events for the SCAF exhibition and will present a number of keynote talks and discussions whilst in Australia.




MEDIA CONTACTS: For interviews with Shigeru Ban, Dr Gene Sherman and general press inquiries, please contact Claire Martin Articulate, 0414 437 588, or Kym Elphinstone, 0421 106 139.

EXHIBITION DETAILS: Shigeru Ban will be on display at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF), 25 March – 1 July 2017 16–20 Goodhope Street, Paddington, Sydney NSW 2021. Access is free of charge and open to the public Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 5pm. For further details visit: SCAF’s Culture+Ideas series regularly amplifies concepts underpinning projects via seminars, film screenings, as well as workshops for adults and children. 



Shigeru Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York. He is one of the few notable Japanese architects to study abroad. In 1985, Ban established his own firm – Shigeru Ban Architects – that now has offices in Tokyo, Paris and New York.

Shigeru Ban is the recipient of multiple awards, including Grande Médaille d’Or de l’Académie d’architecture (2004); Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture (2005); Grand Prize of the Architectural Institute of Japan (2009); Honorary Doctorate, Technische Universität München (2009); L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (le grade d’officier) (2010); Auguste Perret Prize (2011); Art Prize, the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (2012); L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (le grade de commandeur) (2014); and the Prizker Architecture Prize (2014).

Ban served as a Professor at Keio University (2001-2008), as Visiting Professor of Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Cornell University (2010), and is currently a Professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design.