Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban will return to Cersaie | by Elena Romani
As part of its longstanding focus on the world’s great architecture, the International Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings Exhibition Cersaie will be welcoming Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Shigeru Ban to this year’s show. The appointment with the Japanese architect, the first in-person conference to be held since the outbreak of the pandemic, will take place on Friday 1 October 2021 at 11:00 a.m. in the Palazzo dei Congressi at BolognaFiere. The event is part of the 12th edition of Cersaie’s “building, dwelling, thinking” cultural programme and will be introduced by architecture historian Professor Francesco Dal Co. The conference will be an extraordinary opportunity to listen in person to architect Shigeru Ban, who will be arriving straight from Tokyo on a more than 16-hour flight.
The International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings will be held this year as an in-person event at the Bologna Exhibition Centre from 27 September to 1 October, underscoring the show’s status as the world’s most important event for ceramics, bathroom furnishings, architecture and design.
Winner of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, Shigeru Ban has demonstrated to the world the unlimited architectural potential of inexpensive and completely natural materials and has made lightness and sustainability his signature style. He took part in Cersaie for the first time in 2012, when he gave a talk discussing his experience in designing housing for areas devastated by natural disasters such as earthquakes. As cited in the jury statement for the award known as the Nobel Prize of architecture, “For Shigeru Ban, sustainability is not a concept to add on after the fact; rather, it is intrinsic to architecture. His works strive for appropriate products and systems that are in concert with the environment and the specific context, using renewable and locally produced materials, whenever possible.”
Shigeru Ban will be the tenth Pritzker Prize winner to give a keynote lecture at Cersaie, following Tom Mayne, Renzo Piano, Kazuyo Sejima, Eduardo Souto De Moura, Rafael Moneo, Toyo Ito, Glenn Murcutt, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers.
Born in Tokyo in 1957, Ban attended school in Japan and worked at the studio of Arata Isozaki, then studied in the United States at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Cooper Union School of Architecture, where he graduated in 1984. The following year he founded the practice Shigeru Ban Architects in his native city and today works between Tokyo, New York and Paris. Amongst his most innovative works are the Curtain Wall House, the Japan Pavilion Hannover Expo 2000, the Nicolas G. Hayek Center and the Centre Pompidou-Metz. He is renowned the world over for his commitment to designing inexpensive solutions suitable for use in emergencies such as earthquakes and other natural disasters. He has completed dozens of projects of this kind, including the Paper Log House (inexpensive, rapid-construction housing for people who lost their homes in the Kobe earthquake),and the Paper Church, also in Kobe (1995), the Temporary Elementary School in Chengdu (China, 2008), Container Temporary Housing in Onagawa (Japan, 2011) and other projects in Turkey and India. His work took on a collective dimension when he founded the VAN (Voluntary Architects’ Network), an NGO consisting of a network of professionals involved in these kinds of projects.
In addition to the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, Shigeru Ban has received numerous awards including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture (2005), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2010) and the Auguste Perret Prize (2011). He was a member of the jury of the Pritzker Architecture Prize from 2007 to 2009. He held a professorship at Keio University in Japan from 2001 to 2008 and has also taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cornell University (2010) and Kyoto University of Art and Design, amongst others.
Also see the Cersaie 2021 programme of events