Shigeru Ban shelter design offers privacy for Turkey-Syria earthquake victims

Shigeru Ban shelter designs, providing disaster relief in Turkey, Syria and Ukraine, utilise natural materials

temporary shigeru ban shelter
Temporary shelters in Turkey
(Image credit: Shigeru Ban Architects)

A Shigeru Ban shelter design has been unveiled to support the victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect's studio worked with the Voluntary Architects’ Network to provide a Paper Partition System to evacuation centres. The simple system has already been used in the past, having offered privacy to those in evacuation centres set up to aid victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016 and the Hokkaido Earthquake in 2018. 

temporary shelter

A Styrofoam Housing System in Ukraine

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban Architects)

The Shigeru Ban shelter design

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who founded his practice in 1985, builds on his previous work with timber, paper, and bamboo structures for the temporary accommodation. His work with the Voluntary Architects’ Network, which he founded in 1995, also encompasses disaster relief for Ukraine. Paper Partition Systems have been provided to 16 locations in all – in Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, and Paris. 

The architect’s initiative also offers temporary housing and Japanese wood stoves. The stoves, shipped to Ukraine in collaboration with the Solidarity Fund PL in Poland and Ordinary People in Kharkiv, Ukraine, are destined for areas suffering with long-term power outages, including Kharkiv in the east and Ivano-Frankivsk in the west.

temporary shelter

Paper Partition Systems in Ukraine

(Image credit: © Lubica Simkovicova. Shigeru Ban Architects)

Styrofoam Housing Systems, set to be produced by Ukrainian refugees at a local factory, will also offer some temporary relief. The shelters are crafted from lightweight panels made of fibre-reinforced plastic that is then wrapped around Styrofoam, which acts as insulation; the project aims to avoid the uptick in prices for building materials.

Shigeru Ban is well known for his temporary, lightweight solutions. Past examples include the Aspen Art Museum in the USA, and his renowned Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand – originally built from paper tubes, timber, polycarbonate and stained glass to temporarily replace the 19th-century cathedral destroyed in the country's 2011 earthquake. 

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.