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In 1995, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Japan with its epicentre at the major port city of Kobe. More than 6,000 people were killed and 200,000 made homeless. A young, then-unknown Tokyo-based architect – Shigeru Ban – known for his innovative work utilizing paper and cardboard tubing as a building material, was invited to respond to the urgent need for temporary relief shelter. His interest in paper, with its low cost, easy accessibility and simple application, provided him with readymade materials to design and build a sturdy, economical and ecologically sustainable home for thousands who were displaced in the disaster. This simple building has become the prototype for similar disaster relief structures built around the world for the past 20 years.