Chinese Architect Wins Most Prestigious Architecture Award


Wang Shu, who uses recycled materials from China’s torn down buildings, has won the prestigious 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The top prize netted him $100,000 as well as the recognition that he richly deserves.
Very few expected Wang to take home the top prize in the international tournament whose past winners included such notable international architects as Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. His humble status is exemplified by his Hangzhou-based firm Amateur Architecture Studio which only operates with four staffs.
His win clearly illustrates the part that Chinese architectures are playing in the development of architecture in the world.
“The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury to win the prize, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals,” Thomas J. Pritzker, who chairs Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize said about the win.
Wang studied and perfected his craft in China, skewing the path usually taken by his peers of studying in Europe or the United States. He mastered building by working closely with the artisans who directly deal with the building materials.
He built his most famous creating, the Ningbo Historic Museum, from recycled materials collected from torn down building close to his construction site. He built other buildings in the same way and from the same materials.
Judges for the contests praised Wang for his ability to create designs that are timeless and universal. Glenn Murcutt, one of the judges and a previous winner of the prize himself, remarked that Wang’s works are “mature,” avoiding the “sensational and the novel.”

Jon Mills

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