(photo cred.: cnn.com)
Paper has been one of the most influential materials to the life of man sense its creation. We use it to save records, to house masterpieces, to deflect or soften light and for numerous other purposes over the course of our everyday lives. However one place where paper is rarely seen as important is in the built world. The architect Shigeru Ban changed that through his usage of recycled paper tubes.
Paper has always been made to be thin, lifeless, lacking structure or strength unless treated or reinforced through other actions. However, there are structures standing around the world that are made completely from recycled paper tubes. This innovation of material usage came initially as a response to a natural disaster, but Ban continued usage of the material to further solidify paper as an acceptable medium in the built world. Over time Ban was also able to create and find ways to make the paper stronger, flame retardant and water resistant all of which help to make the material itself and the structures created with it to be more permanent.
The advancement of paper tube structures is an important material innovation because it has opened the architectural world to the usage of recycled materials. This will help to not only add sustainable thought into the process of design but also adds to the social acceptance of paper as a working building material