You’d think that after winning the Pritzker Prize, one of the highest awards in design, most architects would sit back and coast on their accolades. What did Japanese architect Shigeru Ban do? He built these beautiful cardboard houses for typhoon refugees.
The shelters are found in the city of Daanbantayan, in the Philippines, which was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan last November. Working with students from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Ban’s team was able to innovate upon similar structures he designed for earthquake victims in Kobe, Japan and Turkey.
The cabins are constructed from interlocking paper tubes, similar to ones that Ban has used in many other of his award-winning structures for other natural disaster sites. Here, the homes are set upon foundations of Coca-Cola crates weighted with sandbags (freaking brilliant) and, as you can see, they can be easily and quickly constructed with a small crew of people.
Inside, the floor is made from sheets of coconut wood and plywood, and a roof is made from local palms and plastic sheeting. The “walls” are simply readymade woven bamboo mats which provide privacy but also allow ventilation.
Paper tubes might seem counterintuitive for an area prone to hurricanes, but it’s surprisingly strong as a building material. Plus, the cost savings alone for manufacturing a paper house instead of shipping and materials for a temporary building makes it worth it.