By TIINA ALVESALO
TWO DIFFERENT HOMES FAR AWAY FROM EACH OF OTHER.BOTH WITH THE PURPOSE OF GIVING COMFORT. BOTH MEANT FOR JUST SPENDING MOMENT THERE AND THEN RETURNING TO SOMETHING PERMANENT.
TEMPORARY HOUSING IN JAPAN’S EARTHQUAKE AREA
Last spring the tsunami that hit Japan swept over the harbour town of Onagawa, destroying the whole town centre in a matter of five minutes. The people there lost everything.
Architect Shigeru Ban, renowned for using recycled materials and cardboard paper tubes, wanted to help the victims of the earthquake. Ban is known for his earlier humanitarian work in, for example, Haiti, Japan’s Kobe and Turkey.
Now Ban has built temporary housing for nearly 200 families. A total of 188 apartments were built into nine buildings. A library and an art hall were designed for collective use.
All of the building materials were recycled or recyclable. The temporary apartments were built out of containers piled on top of each other and held up by steel poles. The Finnish company UPM ProFi took part in the reconstruction work by donating deck composite made of recycled material to Ban’s project. It was used for building the interior corridors and 30-meter-long terraces outside the houses.
The apartments have one to three rooms, electricity, gas and plumbing. Two colours have been used in the terrace decking to show which way the doors open and where it is safe for children to play.
Shigeru Ban, where did you get the idea for using recycled cardboard paper tubes for temporary houses?
“I used paper tubes for the first time as an alternative material for wood, which is generally expensive, in 1986 when designing the scenography of an Alvar Aalto exhibition.”
What is the most important thing that must be taken into account when designing and using paper tubes?
“How to combine the shape of the tube and the structural system in design.”
What kind of feedback have the people living in the temporary houses given?
“Warm as wood.”