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The Japanese legend discusses architects’ duty to do good

Ban-Aid <!-- InstanceEndEditable -->
<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="article date" -->October 2008<!-- InstanceEndEditable -->
<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="AdditionalTitle" -->The Japanese legend discusses architects’ duty to do good.<!-- InstanceEndEditable -->
<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="AuthorName" -->By Naomi R. Pollock, AIA<!-- InstanceEndEditable -->
Source: Architectural Record,
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Photo © Elissa J.H.

Shigeru Ban

ARCHITECTURAL RECORD: What inspired you to take on relief work?
Shigeru Ban: When I came back to Japan after studying in the U.S., I realized that architects are not respected in Japan, and I wondered why. One of the reasons is that the profession has a very short history in Japan. Another is that many people think architects drive up costs and create unusual buildings to call attention to themselves. Historically, architects worked for privileged people, such as kings and religious groups; it is the same today when big corporations and government entities use architecture to make their power and money visible. Some medical doctors and lawyers work for the money while others engage in pro bono, humanitarian activities—yet architects rarely take on this kind of work. So I thought it was really important for us to do something for society, not just to build monuments or help developers make money. (...)
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