Last year’s earthquake in Sichuan province, China killed 69,000 people and flattened thousands of buildings, including schools. A team led by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is constructing new temporary but strong school buildings using plywood and cardboard tubes.
Recycled paper tubes aren’t just useful for holding architectural blueprints. They can be molded into load-bearing columns, bent into trusses and rapidly assembled, and can be made waterproof and fire resistant. Because paper tubes are available in various thickness and diameters, they can be added to a structure to support more weight as necessary. Ban has said he hopes to build structures a few stories high.
The work is being done by Japanese and Chinese students working together.