Shigeru Ban enjoys a growing reputation in the West, has won a host of prizes, and prestigious commissions. His buildings are out on the edge of what we might consider as practical architecture. There are a lot of museum commissions, but even the domestic dwellings look like empty exhibition spaces. He also experiments with novel materials like paper tubing, and novel techniques, like woven roofs made of plywood. The overall effect is an architectural version of Muji, as much basket weaving as architecture.
This book is a fairly straight account of his buildings up to publication in 2006, separated into different themes, such as paper, and skin. This works well to bring out common features on how these buildings are constructed. Ban is a thoughtful architect experimenting with different materials and approaches. There is an element of Cedric Price and Buckminster Fuller in some of these buildings. There is also a wealth of plans and technical detail, just in case you want to use paper tubes as a building material.
The book is attractively prepared, well written and beautifully designed. There are probably more recent books on Ban, and there is scant detail on Ban the man, but this is a model of how such books should be prepared, with clarity and passion.
Although the buildings can appear a little blank they are striking and attractive, and look like something from a better future.