Earthquake rubble reused for new homes

Famed Japanese humanitarian architect and winner of the 2014 Pritzker Prize Shigeru Ban will reclaim bricks from collapsed buildings to build shelters in Nepal for people left homeless by April’s earthquake. The first prototype will be built by end of August.

Shigeru Ban is famous for his innovative work with recycled paper tubes to construct high quality, low-cost, sustainable shelters for victims of war and natural disasters around the world, including Rwanda, Turkey, Haiti, New Zealand and his native Japan.

The founder of the Voluntary Architects Network (VAN) is now turning his sights to Nepal. In May it was announced that his relief organisation would work with Nepalese authorities to provide shelter, housing, and community facilities to victims of April’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless after entire villages were destroyed.

Ban’s firm Shigeru Ban Architects has now announced the design plans for temporary housing: according to the firm’s website, the system will consists of modular wooden frames filled in with rubble bricks and with a roof made of local paper tubes. The system is easy to construct and the wooden frames can be assembled quickly. Once the wooden structure is covered with a plastic sheet, people can move into the shelters immediately and then stack the rubble bricks inside the wooden frames to slowly complete construction themselves. The shelters will be built in collaboration with local universities, students and architects.

As Architect Magazine reports, this is actually the second stage in a three-part disaster relief response. In part one, Ban’s firm and VAN delivered tents made of donated materials such as plastic sheeting for shelters and medical facilities in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The third and final stage is to build permanent housing.


Photo credit: calzada visualization/Shigeru Ban Architects

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