Disaster Relief Project #1: interview with Shigeru Ban

My admiration for Shigeru Ban and his minimal and resourceful architecture extends to his unfailing interest and compassion – I salute him and his team with this  interview from Utsunomiya City by Francesca Picchi via domus 

In two installments, Shigeru Ban discusses the intervention practices of the Voluntary Architects Network (VAN) in the areas of disaster-stricken Japan. Part I explains the project’s first intervention to aid the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami

Read article

The Ultimate Country of Cities

A tribute and a reason to pause and consider ones own position in relation to disaster and, civility and society in our own country.. could we in the tip of Africa hope one day to be a society that while divided in many ways act cohesively enough before disaster in every little decision  to one day  master social and civil discourse like this? By Vishaan Chakrabarti in UrbanOmnibus

Tokyo, 2010 | Photos by Vishaan ChakrabartiTokyo, 2010 | Photos by Vishaan Chakrabarti

This, my tenth and final entry for a Country of Cities on Urban Omnibus, is in essence a highly personal love letter to Japan. For over a year, the wonderful readers of the Omnibus have cheered and jeered as I have relentlessly argued that the United States faces a series of deeply connected challenges: economic decline, energy dependence, oil wars, terrorism, xenophobia, protectionism, mounting debt, and spiraling health care costs. These challenges, while vexing when taken together, are surmountable with the silver bullet of the city. The combined growth of the skyscraper and the subway, I continue to posit, is the best path to keep our nation and our developing planet economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. The recent catastrophe in Japan has shaken me into remembering, however, that the real trailblazers in truly dense urban living have been the Japanese, for which they have largely prospered, and because of which they will overcome the unthinkable triple tragedy they now face. Continue reading

Japan: Two Perspectives after Disaster (via Encountering Urbanization)

This is part of an res -URGENT discussion needed of how globalization and the “just-in-time’ delivery networks of supermarkets and manufacturing business undermine a cities RESILIENCE and ability to withstand both large scale catastrophic disaster as well as the slower effects of global “shrinkage” in the face of economic downturn pressures which don’t make the headlines in the same way as tsunami’s and earthquakes, but having equally devastating results for the urban poor – especially in the marginalized cities of the global south. Shigeru Ban is an architect who has been outspoken in stating the case for responsible architecture and urbanization:

Japan: Two Perspectives after Disaster Two weeks after the worst earthquake in Japan’s history the discussions surround relieve and rebuilding bring multiple perspectives about what nations and NGOs are doing to help the country of Japan.  With this disaster effecting millions of people it is rather difficult to put these events into a human scale.  The two stories below attempt to do just that as two architects discuss their perspective on these events. Architect Shigeru Ban, in a Ne … Read More

via Encountering Urbanization

“Please help Japan” – Tokujin Yoshioka via dezeen

Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka has sent this letter and video asking for donations to the Red Cross for disaster relief following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.


Can’t see the movie? Click here

Here’s the letter in full:

Dear friends,

As you may already have known, Japan was hit by the largest earthquake ever recorded on Friday, March 11th.

The huge quake and devastating tsunami has left the overwhelming damage to the country and we are still facing this terrifying conditions.

Continue reading