When Japanese architect Shigeru Ban constructed a 1986 Alvar Aalto exhibition, even he could not have predicted the impact this projector indeed, the Finnish architect himselfwould have on Ban's career. Renowned for designing remarkable structures from materials such as paper, bamboo and wood, Shigeru Ban creates sustainable architecture that has become noted for its humanitarian role in disaster-stricken zones. It is this human awareness to design that bonds the work of the two architects. As Aalto exclaimed in 1957, "The ultimate goal of the architect ... is to create a paradise. Every house, every product of architecture ... should be a fruit of our endeavor to build an earthly paradise for people." Other similarities include the cross pollination of Eastern and Western influences displayed in both of the men's architecture (Aalto was an aficionado of the Japanese architecture of the 1930s, while Ban was educated in the West). It is fitting, then, that Aalto's first major UK retrospective should be curated by Ban, marking Ban as a modern-day successor to one of the 20th century's most revered architects.

Alvar Aalto: Through the eyes of Shigeru Ban
Barbican Art Gallery
February 22 through May 13, 2007

Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London, EC2Y 8DS

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