Wednesday walls – creating walls from cardboard tubes, by Shigeru Ban

As we spoke about yesterday, we visited Ecobuild last week to see what was new in the world of eco construction and building, but we were also rather keen to listen to a talk by the fantastic Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Well known for his elegant structures, Ban in also well known for creating huge, structural spaces out of cardboard tubes.

Now, cardboard is generally not the material that springs to mind when it comes to creating architecture, but, as Ban has proved, the humble tube can provide immense strength – enough to be used as a structural material if the walls are at the specified thickness.

One of the fantastic things about using cardboard tubes as a building material is that often they are manufactured close to the site (as they are a global commodity) and can be used in a variety of ways. Ban’s own work has used the tube in both structural frameworks and as walls within buildings.

Plus, the buildings have an incredible honesty and lightness to them – something that is hard to achieve with the traditional brick and mortar building methods that we are used to in the West.

Ban has also produced a lot of work that has provided a quick response to disaster relief, creating both individual and community based buildings for areas rebuilding after natural disasters such as earthquakes. The speed that the cardboard technology allows in the building process is perfect for this application, but the buildings have the ability to last much longer and are often adopted into the new communities.

Otherwise, whole buildings have been dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere.

So next time you look at a cardboard tube, don’t just look at it as a cardboard tube. Look at it as a building material.

(images via Shigeru Ban website)