Tokyo-born architect Shigeru Ban has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Ban, 56, is known for designs shaped by humanitarian concerns, working with the victims of natural and man-made disasters to create recyclable shelters and community buildings. He has donated his time and efforts to survivors of the 1994 conflict in Rwanda, for example, and the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Ban has offices in Tokyo, Paris and New York.
“Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful,” Ban said in a press release. “I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing-not to change what I am doing, but to grow.”
Ban has designed several residences, an outpost of Paris’s Centre Pompidou in Metz, France (in collaboration with Jean de Gastines and Philip Gumuchdjian), and a new building for the Aspen Art Museum, slated to open in August.
Ban attended the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles and the Cooper Union in New York, starting his own practice in Tokyo in 1985. After his work in Rwanda and Kobe, he started the NGO Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN). He has taught at Harvard and Cornell Universities, and joined the faculty at Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2011.
Established in 1979 by Cindy and Jay Pritzker, the Pritzker Prize is recognized as the top international honor in architecture. Past winners include Toyo Ito, Renzo Piano, I.M. Pei and Frank Gehry. Recipients receive a $100,000 grant.