9 NOVEMBER 2002 - 11 MAY 2003
In Spring 2002, Rice Gallery invited Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to create a site-specific installation. Ban’s new work, Bamboo Roof is an outdoor installation featuring an expansive open-weave canopy of bamboo flooring boards that spans the Gallery Plaza. Bamboo Roof is Shigeru Ban’s second museum project in the United States and was constructed as a collaborative effort by classes from the School of Architecture, Rice University and the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston. Over a three-week period, more than fifty students, five architecture professors, and other volunteers took part in the construction. Bamboo Roof was designed in association with Cecil Balmond of Ove Arup & Partners Intl., Ltd. of London, who engineered the project.
Bamboo Roof is characterized by a free-form roof structure with limitless geometric possibilities. The concept is at once simple and complex. It is created by a system of interlocking units, each consisting of four bamboo boards and four connection points. Although roofs are usually thought of as being solid, Bamboo Roof conveys a sense of lightness and transparency. Held aloft by bundles of steel poles that connect with the roof at numerous points, the effect is that of being under a forest canopy.
Ban’s use of bamboo flooring boards as the work’s primary component reflects the innovative use of alternative, environmentally-friendly materials for which he is known. As a grass, bamboo regenerates much faster than wood. The bamboo boards used in Bamboo Roof originated in China where farmers grow and harvest bamboo logs. The hollow logs are split into 1-inch wide strips that become the building blocks for the final floor plank. For this project, the precise work of trimming, drilling, and sealing each individual board was done by Brochsteins Inc., one of the nation’s premier manufacturers of custom architectural woodwork and furniture.
Brochsteins Inc., Houston, Texas and Mr. and Mrs. Michael L. Klein have provided major support for this exhibition.
Shigeru Ban: Bamboo Roof is made possible by Raymond Brochstein; Nonya Grenader, Danny Samuels, and their class Architecture 101, the Rice Building Workshop, as well as Mark Oberholzer and his class Environmental Control Systems, School of Architecture, Rice University; Donna Kacmar and Bill Price and their class Architecture Workshop I, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston; and Jonathan Grenader, Grenader Properties.
Special thanks to Grant Suzuki, Shigeru Ban Architects, for his dedication to making this project a success.
The Rice Gallery exhibition documenting Bamboo Roof’sconstruction was organized by Fraser Stables, Nonya Grenader, and Kimberly Davenport. Thanks to all the students who provided documentary material.
Thanks to Rice Design Alliance and the American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter, and the following individuals:
Deborah Brochstein, Angel Hacker, and Pam Hatzenbuehler, Brochsteins Inc. Daniel Fabian Alex Ferrance, Ed Galindo, Steve Howell, Russell Price, Alvaro J. Rodriguez, and Rodrigo Rodriguez, Facilities and Engineering, Rice University David Graeve Tommy Joe, Shop Manager, University of Houston Eugen Radulescu, Transportation, Rice University Anne Scheou, Shigeru Ban Architects Benedikt Schleicher and Charles Walker, Ove Arup & Partners Intl., Ltd. William Taylor, Chief of Police, Rice University Jerry Weisner
ABOUT THE ARCHITECT
Throughout his career, Shigeru Ban has re-evaluated the role of the architect in today’s society through his focus on the humanitarian possibilities afforded by the profession. Ban is well known for the temporary housing he created for the displaced population after the Kobe, Japan earthquake in 1995. The simple, yet elegant structures made of cardboard tubes that would normally be thrown away initiated Ban’s work for other displaced populations through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Ban’s work also includes the striking Curtain Wall House (1995) for which he utilized a massive white curtain as the exterior boundary for a three-story home in Tokyo. For the Japan Pavilion at the 2000 Expo in Hanover, Germany, which had environmental conservation as its theme, Ban and architect Frei Otto designed a recyclable, 242-foot long organic-shaped structure made of paper stretched over a paper tube armature. Ban’s first project in the United States was A Paper Arch, (2000) a paper tube installation over the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shigeru Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) and earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York. Mr. Ban has won numerous awards including the Kansai Architect Grand Prize, 1996 and Best Young Architect of the Year, 1997 from the Japan Institute of Architecture. His work is the subject of the monograph Shigeru Ban published by Princeton University Press (2001). Shigeru Ban lives and works in Tokyo where he teaches architecture at Keio University and is a principal of Shigeru Ban Architects.