Architect Shigeru Ban is involved in re-building of the elementary schools that were destroyed by the Sichuan earthquake. This is the summery of the interview from “Nikkeibp” (Originally interviewed in Japanese)
Q How did you get involved in this project?
A I was working for a project in China with students from Keio University, and Southwest Jiaotong University.Then, the local NGO introduced me to this project.
Q Why was this temporary school necessary?
A The Chinese government didn’t spend much money for the area where the destruction was
limited. However, even in those areas, there are schools where you cannot use because there is a chance that they will fall apart. So we decided to build the temporary building.
Q It took only 1 month?
A Yes, we started on the 8th of August, and finished on the 11th of September.
Q What is important for this kind of projects?
A One of the most important things is to go to the local market and check the availability of materials and also the prices.
Q Do some people think that you are doing this for your own promotion?
A I wouldn’t care if someone thinks so. Even if it is for my promotion, what matters is to make the people happy. It often said that the status of architects is lower than doctors and lawyers. One of the reasons is that people do not have the impression that we have been helping the disadvantaged. So I think it is necessary to get involved in this kind of projects more than them.
Q What is the best result of this project?
A Japanese students met the local people and worked with the local students. Their sensitivity will get polished by getting involved in this kind of projects. This will give them an advantage when they look for a job abroad.