Japanese architect constructs environmentally-friendly home for earthquake survivors

The installation of the “paper bobbin house,” designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban by using recycled, environmentally friendly materials, has begun in Türkiye’s quake-hit province of Hatay, according to reports Thursday.

The architect, who arrived in Türkiye to personally oversee the implementation of his design in Middle East Technical University’s (METU) “Emergency Studio,” spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) and noted that using materials such as paper and particleboard he had already designed structures for emergency evacuation areas in Japan, Italy and Türkiye.

Recalling the powerful earthquake that struck the Marmara region in August 1999, Ban noted that “Shigeru Ban Architects” and the “Voluntary Architects Network (Volunteer Architects)” had designed about 70 temporary structures for the earthquake-hit zone.

Ban, who decided to get in touch with METU students from the Department of Architecture following the recent Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes, said students from Japan also expressed interest in “doing something” after the disaster, so they consequently embarked on the project.

“The structure we designed for the earthquake-hit zone is a completely new project,” Ban explained. Noting that primarily the projects were designed to serve as temporary shelters, Ban said the house can serve as permanent lodging as long as people need it.

“The designs of the building start with me. Then I made a prototype of the design with my students in Japan,” he said.

He stated that as the same materials used in Japan were not available in Türkiye, they kept in touch with METU students during the period of construction to figure out which type of local materials could be used to deliver his design.

Adding that he liked the paper bobbin house built in METU, Ban said, “It is very strong, very well made and a very beautiful structure.”