The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has announced Shigeru Ban as the recipient of the award for 2014.
Since opening his firm, Shigeru Ban Architects, in Tokyo in 1985, Ban (who now has additional offices in Paris and New York) has followed a bipartite career characterized both by inventive, socially conscious responses to emergency relief situations and a varied modernist approach to private, institutional, and commercial projects. The Pritzker jury, seemingly mindful that, in earlier times, the award, which began in 1979, tended to go to glamorous design types (Philip Johnson, Richard Meier, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, etc.), cites Ban for his “contributions to humanity” as well as excellence in design. Ban’s efforts have “expanded the role of the profession,” the jury notes, due to the laureate’s interaction with governments, public agencies, philanthropists, and local communities. Ban explains “I started working in disaster areas because I was a little disappointed about my profession. Architects mostly work for the privileged...I thought architects should have more of a social role. If people lose houses in a disaster area, there is no architect to help.”