Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Article 1 - Emergency shelters made from paper

Emergency shelters made from paper - Shigeru Ban(TED Talks)

Josh Wood

Rating: ****

Shigeru Ban is an environmentally conscious architect who builds and designs temporary buildings and housing completely out of paper. Despite it just being paper, all the materials used are industrial waterproof and fireproof grade. The design of his buildings are nothing short of amazing, but the real ingenuity lies within the potential lives that could benefit from using low cost material such as this to build shelter.

During his TED Talks presentation, Shigeru Ban briefly described the many temporary and permanent structures he built using this simple material and design. However, he also continued to explain his discomfort in only designing architecture the the privileged. In other words, he knew most architects were reluctant to redesign and build in countries that are in distress from natural disasters among other things. This is where he put his design into place. Insteading working where there was the most money, he used his architectural talent for the good of humanity by designing higher grade emergency shelters for those struck by disaster and left homeless as a result. Some of the original survival shelters built by the UN in Haiti were merely just a tarp held up by sticks. These shelters were hardly protect from the elements let alone comfortable. Luckily, the cheap materials, simple design, and easy assembly of Shigeru’s paper shelters helped thousands of people through these natural disasters.

After watching this presentation, it definitely makes me think about how privileged I am. Even if Ottawa were to be struck by a natural disaster, there’d be a hundred times more support for us than any of these third world countries get. I think Shigeru’s paper emergency shelters have the potential to not only improve quality of living for these people struck by disaster, but their original housing in general. If these materials can be manufactured, shipped, and assembled at a low cost, the potential to aid these third world countries with this design is limitless, but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that. But it’s also a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional materials. Overall, I think Shigeru’s emergency shelters should be implemented more widely as it it makes a vast improvement in mental and physical health compared to a tarp and sticks.


Ban, Shigeru. "Shigeru Ban: Emergency Shelters Made from Paper." Shigeru Ban: Emergency Shelters Made from Paper. TED Talks, Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2014. <http://new.ted.com/talks/shigeru_ban_emergency_shelters_made_from_paper>.

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