Renowned architect Shigeru Ban, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has unveiled a prototype for a temporary house that he plans to deploy in Morocco following the devastating earthquake that occurred earlier this month. The structure, known as the Paper Log House, is part of Ban’s efforts to provide quick and affordable shelter for victims of natural disasters.
The Paper Log House was developed by Shigeru Ban Architects in collaboration with the Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN), an NGO that Ban founded in 1995. After the 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Morocco on September 8, which resulted in over 3,000 fatalities and extensive damage to buildings, including schools and heritage landmarks, the Paper Log House will be rolled out in the affected areas.
The prototype of the Paper Log House was recently showcased at the National School of Architecture of Marrakech. Images shared by VAN on Instagram reveal the construction process, which involves the use of cardboard tubes that give the structure its name. The columns of the house are formed by these tubes, while prefabricated wooden panels are used for the walls, floor, and roof. The structure is elevated above the ground on a base made of plastic beer crates filled with sandbags.
Ban presented the project at the National School of Architecture of Marrakech and also gave a lecture on disaster relief. He is currently in Marrakech to assess the affected areas and identify suitable locations for installing the Paper Log Houses.
For over three decades, Ban has been involved in disaster-relief projects, and VAN was established to support these efforts. The Paper Log House model was initially created after the Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, Japan, in 1995 and has since been implemented in other locations, such as Antakya following the Turkey-Syria earthquake in 2023.
In addition to the Paper Log House, VAN is known for its Paper Partition System, which provides privacy in temporary shelters. Similar to the Paper Log House, this system utilizes cardboard tubes and offers a quick and affordable construction solution. It has been installed in temporary shelters in Europe for Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, as well as in accommodation for victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake.
Following the earthquake in Morocco, UNESCO has pledged its support to local authorities in their efforts to rebuild schools and heritage landmarks. The photographs used in this article are courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects.
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