Shigeru Ban architecture

Shigeru Ban


Born: August 5th, 1957

Winner of 2014 Pritzker Prize 




Ban is known for using paper tubes as material for construction, and has used them as ways of low-cost disaster relief housing. Its use can be seen in chairs inside museums and offices that he has designed.


Other than using paper, his recent projects features woven timber roof. Glass shutter walls have become a common feature also.



Works in the Tokyo area

Nicholas G. Hayek Center (2007)


What appears as numerous showrooms on the ground floor are lifts that will go up or down to the respective floors where each brand has their shop.

Originally the glass shutters on the upper floors could be opened on a clear day, but now remains closed due to constant malfunctions.

Location: 7-9-18 Ginza, Chuo-ku.

VinSante (2016)

Italian/French restaurant located about 10 minutes away from Shimokitazawa in the western suburbs of Tokyo. The corner on the streetside does not have any pillars to enhance open-air feel when windows slide open.


Location: 4-39-7 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku


Glass Shutter House (2003)

This was the first of the buildings with the "glass shutter" concept, built for a chef in the affluent Jiyugaoka neighborhood of Tokyo.


Private residence, Jiyugaoka Meguro-ku

Photo from May 2024, after the transparent function was reinstated.
Photo from May 2024, after the transparent function was reinstated.

Public Toilet, Shibuya (2020)

Transparent restrooms may seem odd, but don't worry...once the door is locked the walls become opaque.

The see-through walls makes it easier to identify which rooms are unoccupied, and check on its cleanliness.

Location: Haru-no-ogawa Park, 5-68-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku. Near the No. 3 Exit of Yogogi-Koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)


The toilets were permanently opaque for awhile when it was discovered that in colder weather there is a potential malfunction of the system. As of mid May 2024, the original transparent feature has been reinstated and it should remain this way until mid October.

Works outside of Tokyo


Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse (2018)

Admirers of Shigeru Ban's works now have a chance to stay in a hotel designed by him!


The hotel opened in 2018 adjacent to the Tsuruoka Bioscience Park, where there is a campus of Keio University's Institute of Advanced Biosciences, as well as numerous startups. There is a restaurant, onsen and library for guests on site. The hotel is surrounded by a suiden (rice fields) and almost gives a feel of a floating village when the fields are filled with water.


Tsuruoka has a population of around 130,000 and like many rural communities, suffering from a gradual loss in the population as well as rapid hike in the percentage of the elderly. The science park aims to attract more younger workers to the area.  

Onagawa Station (2015)

Nearly everything around the station got swept away by the tidal waves in the 2011 Earthquake. Shigeru Ban was in charge of the reconstruction of the station, which includes a public bath on the second floor and will be the core of the rebuilding effort for the community.

Oita Art Museum (2015)

The glass panels on the street level can be removed, allowing pedestrians to freely walk in and out of the building from the adjacent street.

The elimination of a physical wall is a concept also seen in the Nicholas G. Hayek Center and some of his other recent works.


Mt Fuji World Heritage Centre (2017)

The latticed wood walls have become another common feature in recent works of Ban; here the art is perfected as the reflections resemble the Japan's most famous mountain. The rooftop space provides excellent views of Mt Fuji.

The facility is in Fujinomiya city, on the lesser visited Shizuoka side of Mt Fuji. From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen to Shin-Fuji Station, then a bus connection for another 25 minutes.