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  • Hi. I am an architect.

  • I am the only architect in the world

  • making buildings out of paper like this cardboard tube,

  • and this exhibition is the first one I did using paper tubes.

  • 1986, much, much longer before people started talking

  • about ecological issues and environmental issues,

  • I just started testing the paper tube

  • in order to use this as a building structure.

  • It's very complicated to test the new material for the building,

  • but this is much stronger than I expected,

  • and also it's very easy to waterproof.

  • Because it's industrial material,

  • it's also possible to fireproof.

  • Then I built the temporary structure, 1990.

  • This is the first temporary building made out of paper.

  • There are 330 tubes, diameter 55 [centimeters],

  • there are only 12 tubes with a diameter of 120 centimeters,

  • or four feet, wide.

  • As you see it in the photo, inside is the toilet.

  • In case you're finished with toilet paper,

  • you can tear off the inside of the wall. (Laughter)

  • So it's very useful.

  • Year 2000, there was a big expo in Germany.

  • I was asked to design the building,

  • because the theme of the expo was environmental issues.

  • So I was chosen to build the pavilion out of paper tubes,

  • recyclable paper.

  • My goal of the design is not when it's completed.

  • My goal was when the building was demolished,

  • because each country makes a lot of pavilions

  • but after half a year, we create a lot of industrial waste,

  • so my building has to be reused or recycled.

  • After, the building was recycled.

  • So that was the goal of my design.

  • Then I was very lucky to win the competition

  • to build the second Pompidou Center in France in the city of Metz.

  • Because I was so poor, I wanted to rent an office in Paris,

  • but I couldn't afford it, so I decided to bring my students to Paris

  • to build our office on top of the Pompidou Center in Paris

  • by ourselves. (Laughter)

  • So we brought the paper tubes and the wooden joints

  • to complete the 35-meter-long office.

  • We stayed there for six years without paying any rent.

  • (Laughter) (Applause)

  • Thank you. I had one big problem.

  • Because we were part of the exhibition,

  • even if my friend wanted to see me, they had to buy a ticket to see me.

  • (Laughter) That was the problem.

  • Then I completed the Pompidou Center in Metz.

  • It's a very popular museum now,

  • and I created a big monument for the government.

  • But then I was very disappointed

  • at my profession as an architect,

  • because we are not helping, we are not working for society,

  • but we are working for privileged people,

  • rich people, government, developers.

  • They have money and power.

  • Those are invisible.

  • So they hire us to visualize their power and money

  • by making monumental architecture.

  • That is our profession, even historically it's the same,

  • even now we are doing the same.

  • So I was very disappointed that we are not working for society,

  • even though there are so many people

  • who lost their houses by natural disasters.

  • But I must say they are no longer natural disasters.

  • For example, earthquakes never kill people,

  • but collapse of the buildings kills people.

  • That's the responsibility of architects.

  • Then people need some temporary housing,

  • but there are no architects working there

  • because we are too busy working for privileged people.

  • So I thought, even as architects,

  • we can be involved in the reconstruction of temporary housing.

  • We can make it better.

  • So that is why I started working in disaster areas.

  • 1994, there was a big disaster in Rwanda, Africa.

  • Two tribes, Hutu and Tutsi, fought each other.

  • Over two million people became refugees.

  • But I was so surprised to see the shelter,

  • refugee camp organized by the U.N.

  • They're so poor,

  • and they are freezing with blankets during the rainy season.

  • In the shelters built by the U.N.,

  • they were just providing a plastic sheet,

  • and the refugees had to cut the trees, and just like this.

  • But over two million people cut trees.

  • It just became big, heavy deforestation

  • and an environmental problem.

  • That is why they started providing aluminum pipes, aluminum barracks.

  • Very expensive, they throw them out for money,

  • then cutting trees again.

  • So I proposed my idea to improve the situation

  • using these recycled paper tubes

  • because this is so cheap and also so strong,

  • but my budget is only 50 U.S. dollars per unit.

  • We built 50 units to do that as a monitoring test

  • for the durability and moisture and termites and so on.

  • And then, a year afterward 1995 in Kobe, Japan,

  • we had a big earthquake.

  • Nearly 7000 people were killed,

  • and the city like this Nagata district,

  • all the city was burned in a fire after the earthquake.

  • And also I found out there's many Vietnamese refugees

  • suffering and gathering at a Catholic church --

  • all the buildings were totally destroyed.

  • So I went there and also I proposed to the priests,

  • "Why don't we rebuild the church out of paper tubes?"

  • And he said, "Oh God, are you crazy?

  • After a fire, what are you proposing?"

  • So he never trusted me, but I didn't give up.

  • I started commuting to Kobe,

  • and I met the society of Vietnamese people.

  • They were living like this with very poor plastic sheets in the park.

  • So I proposed to rebuild. I did fundraising.

  • I made a paper tube shelter for them,

  • and in order to make it easy to be built by students

  • and also easy to demolish,

  • I used beer crates as a foundation.

  • I asked the Kirin beer company to propose,

  • because at that time,

  • the Asahi beer company made their plastic beer crates red,

  • which doesn't go with the color of the paper tubes.

  • The color coordination is very important.

  • And also I still remember, we were expecting

  • to have a beer inside the plastic beer crate,

  • but it came empty. (Laughter)

  • So I remember it was so disappointing.

  • So during the summer with my students,

  • we built over 50 units of the shelters.

  • Finally the priest, finally he trusted me to rebuild.

  • He said, "As long as you collect money by yourself,

  • bring your students to build, you can do it."

  • So we spent five weeks rebuilding the church.

  • It was meant to stay there for three years,

  • but actually it stayed there 10 years because people loved it.

  • Then, in Taiwan, they had a big earthquake,

  • and we were proposed to donate this church,

  • so we dismantled them,

  • we sent them over to be built by volunteer people.

  • It stayed there in Taiwan as a permanent church even now.

  • So this building became a permanent building.

  • Then I wonder, what is a permanent and what is a temporary building?

  • Even a building made in paper

  • can be permanent as long as people love it.

  • Even a building made of concrete

  • can easily collapse by an earthquake.

  • If a building is built by a developer in order to make money,

  • other developers buy the land, they destroy it and put a new one.

  • So, it's very temporary.

  • So, that is a difference.

  • If a building is built even in paper, if people love it, it becomes permanent.

  • Even a concrete building can be very temporary,

  • if that is made to make money.

  • In 1999, in Turkey, there's the big earthquake,

  • I went there to use the local material to build a shelter.

  • 2001, in West India, I also built a shelter.

  • In 2004, in Sri Lanka, after the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami,

  • I rebuilt Islamic fishermen's villages.

  • And in 2008, in Chengdu, Sichuan area in China,

  • nearly 70 000 people were killed,

  • and also especially many of the schools were destroyed

  • because of the corruption between the authority and the contractor.

  • I was asked to rebuild the temporary [school].

  • I brought my Japanese students to work with the Chinese students.

  • In one month, we completed 9 classrooms over 500 square meters.

  • It's still used, even after the current earthquake in China.

  • In 2009, in Italy, L'Aquila, also they had a big earthquake.

  • And this is a very interesting photo:

  • former Prime Minister Berlusconi

  • and Japanese former former former former Prime Minister Mr. Aso -

  • you know, because we have to change the prime minister ever year.

  • And that...umm (Laughter)

  • And they are very kind, holding my model.

  • I proposed a big rebuilding, a temporary music hall,

  • because L'Aquila is very famous for music

  • and all the concert halls were destroyed, so musicians were moving out.

  • So I proposed to the mayor,

  • I'd like to rebuild the temporary auditorium.

  • He said, "As long as you bring your money, you can do it."

  • And I was very lucky.

  • Mr. Berlusconi brought G8 summit,

  • and our former prime minister came,

  • so they helped us to collect money,

  • and I got half a million euros from the Japanese government

  • to rebuild this temporary auditorium.

  • I have to remember every year there is an earthquake somewhere.

  • Year 2010 in Haiti, there was a big earthquake,

  • but it's impossible to fly over,

  • so I went to Santo Domingo, next-door country,

  • to drive six hours to get to Haiti

  • with the local students in Santo Domingo

  • to build 50 units of shelter out of local paper tubes.

  • This is what happened in Japan two years ago, in northern Japan.

  • After the earthquake and tsunami,

  • people had to be evacuated in a big room like a gymnasium.

  • But look at this. There's no privacy.

  • People suffer mentally and physically.

  • So we went there to build partitions

  • with all the student volunteers with paper tubes,

  • just a very simple shelter out of the tube frame and the curtain.

  • However, some of the facility authority

  • doesn't want us to do it, because, they said,

  • simply, it's become more difficult to control them.

  • But it's really necessary to do it.

  • Then, also it was the fact

  • over 500 kilometer coast line was damaged by tsunami.

  • They don't have enough flat area to build

  • standard government single-story housing like this one.

  • Look at this. Even civil government is doing

  • such poor construction of the temporary housing,

  • so dense and so messy

  • because there is no storage, nothing, water is leaking,

  • so I thought, we have to make multi-story building

  • because there's no land and also it's not very comfortable.

  • So I proposed to the mayor while I was making partitions.

  • Finally I met a very nice mayor in Onagawa village in Miyagi.

  • He asked me to build three-story housing on baseball [fields].

  • I used the shipping container

  • and also the students helped us

  • to make all the building furniture

  • to make them comfortable,

  • within the budget of the government

  • but also the area of the house is exactly the same,

  • but much more comfortable.

  • Many of the people want to stay here forever.

  • I was very happy to hear that.

  • Now I am working in New Zealand, Christchurch.

  • About 20 days before the Japanese earthquake happened,

  • also they had a big earthquake,

  • and many Japanese students were also killed,

  • and the most important cathedral of the city,

  • the symbol of Christchurch, was totally destroyed.

  • And I was asked to come to rebuild the temporary cathedral.

  • So this is under construction.

  • And I'd like to keep building the monuments

  • that are beloved by people.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you. (Applause)

  • Thank you very much. (Applause)

Hi. I am an architect.

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