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Wang Shu Wins 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize

The architect is praised for producing a body of work that opens new horizons while resonating with place and memory.


BY jesse

29 February, 2012

Chinese architect Wang Shu has been announced as the winner of this year’s prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize – often described as the ‘Nobel prize of architecture’.

Wang Shu

Ceramic House, 2003 – 2006, Jinhua, China

Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize, explains the significance of this year’s winner.

“The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals. In addition, over the coming decades China’s success at urbanisation will be important to China and to the world… China’s unprecedented opportunities for urban planning and design will want to be in harmony with both its long and unique traditions of the past and with its future needs for sustainable development.”

Wang Shu

Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Phase I, 2002 – 2004, Hangzhou, China

Pritzker Prize jury chairman The Lord Palumbo says that Wang’s work is able to transcend the current debate “as to whether architecture should be anchored in tradition or should look only toward the future”. Wang’s work, he says, is “timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal”.

Wang Shu

Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Phase I

The 48-year-old architect runs Hangzhou-based “Amateur Architecture Studio” with his wife, Lu Wenyu, where traditional understanding, experimental building tactics, and intensive research form the basis of their work.

Wang Shu

Ningbo History Museum, 2003 – 2008, Ningbo, China

His completed projects include the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University, Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum, Ningbo History Museum, Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art, Vertical Courtyard Apartments, and the Ceramic House.

Wang Shu

Ningbo History Museum

International accolades include the French Gold Medal from the Academy of Architecture in 2011, and the German Schelling Architecture Prize in 2010 – a joint award with his wife.

Wang Shu

Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

Wang Shu has expressed considerable surprise at his win, saying that he is greatly honoured. “I suddenly realised that I’ve done many things over the last decade. It proves that earnest hard work and persistence lead to positive outcomes.”

Past Pritzker Prize laureates include Frank Gehry (US), Zaha Hadid (UK), Rem Koolhaas (the Netherlands), Renzo Piano (Italy), Jean Nouvel (France), SANAA (Japan) and, just last year, Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal).

The Pritzker Architecture Prize

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