It was in Los Angeles that Tokyo-born
Well, in Santa Monica, to be exact. Ban attended the fledgling
"I wanted to go to Cooper Union and study with John Hejduk, but I found out that Cooper Union didn't accept foreign students," Ban said of the experimental New York school. "They only accepted foreign students transferring from another U.S. school. So I found SCI-Arc, which was very exciting at that time, quite a new school."
Architect Ray Kappe, the director of SCI-Arc at the time and one of its founders, looked over Ban's portfolio.
"I thought he had quite a bit of potential talent," Kappe said. "He didn't speak much English, but in architecture you can communicate without too much talking -- or you used to be able to, in any case. I thought he would do just fine."
Kappe, in fact, advanced Ban to the second-year curriculum on the basis of that portfolio.
In 2007, Ban and Kappe joined Frances Anderton for an onstage conversation about those days -- and Ban's subsequent career -- at the Hammer Museum.
The video of that event is here.