Nomadic Museum, New York
Shigeru Ban 

Nomadic Museum, New York

Shigeru Ban 

Made of shipping containers and paper tubes, the Nomadic Museum takes the concept of itinerant exhibition to the limit, because not only the works are moved from place to place, but also the building. In the year 2000, the Canadian photographer Gregory Colbert told Shigeru Ban about his idea of building a mobile museum to display his work around the world, and after the success of this exhibition ‘Ashes and Snow’ at the Venice Biennale in 2002 he managed to obtain financing. The first location of the project was Pier 54 in New York (famous for being the Titanic’s arrival destination) and later it was taken to other cities like Santa Monica or Tokyo.

The containers are stacked in two parallel rows measuring 205 meters long and between them a colonnade of paper tubes supports the triangular truss that forms the roof. To reduce the weight, the volumes are arranged with a checkerboard pattern and the voids are covered with membranes placed diagonally to increase the expressiveness of the facade. Because the dimensions are standardized, the containers can be rented in every location and the paper supports can be recycled and manufactured again, so only the membrane and roof structure need to be transported.


Shigeru Ban Architects

Associate: Dean Maltz Architect


Structure: Buro Happold


Project Management: Bovis Lend Lease; General Contractor: MVN; Fabric Structures: Summit Structures; Electrical: A.S.R

Built-up area

4,180 m²


Michael Moran