pritzker prize winner wang shu: the work of amateur architecture studio pritzker prize winner wang shu: the work of amateur architecture studio
feb 28, 2012

pritzker prize winner wang shu: the work of amateur architecture studio

library of wenzheng college, 1999-2000, suzhou, china

image © lu wenyu all images courtesy of the pritzker prize foundation

wang shu of the hangzhou-based firm amateur architecture studio has been announced by thomas j. pritzker, chairman of the hyatt foundation, as the 2012 pritzker prize architecture laureate. born on november 4, 1963 in the city of urumqi in the xinjiang province of china, the 49 year old is the first architect to receive the award from his nation. he acquired his bachelor of science and then masters degree from the nanjing institute of technology in 1988 and a ph.d. from tongji university in 2000. from 1990 to 1998, wang shu worked for craftsman to gain experience by learning everything involved in the construction of buildings through the renovations of old structures.

along with his wife lu wenyu, they co-founded the amateur architecture studio in 1997, bringing forward their personal critique of the architecture profession in their country. his disapproval of the destruction of urban areas and therefore history as well as rapid developing of rural areas became central to his design approach. an executed example of this mindset is the ningbo historic museum, where he used recycled materials found near the site to fuse memories of the past into the modern day construct.

library of wenzheng college, 1999-2000, suzhou, china

image © lu wenyu

his work process experiences three phases, initial encounters with clients, construction detailing of the project and then the introduction and acceptance of the finished product by users. the forms emerge first from introspective thought, then drawings and follows with discussion to reach final stages. maintaining a handcrafted aesthetic is of great importance, adding soul and humanizing his structures.

ningbo contemporary art museum, 2001-2005, ningbo, china

image © lu wenyu

ningbo contemporary art museum, 2001-2005, ningbo, china

images © lu wenyu

vertical courtyard apartments, 2002-2007, hangzhou, china

image © lu wenyu

vertical courtyard apartments, 2002-2007, hangzhou, china

image © lu wenyu

xiangshan campus, china academy of art, phase i, 2002-2004, hangzhou, china image © lu wenyu

xiangshan campus, china academy of art, phase i, 2002-2004, hangzhou, china image © lu wenyu

xiangshan campus, china academy of art, phase i, 2002-2004, hangzhou, china

image © lu wenyu

xiangshan campus, china academy of art, phase ii, 2004-2007, hangzhou, china

image © lv hengzhong

xiangshan campus, china academy of art, phase ii, 2004-2007, hangzhou, china

image © lv hengzhong

ningbo history museum, 2003-2008, ningbo, china

image © lv hengzhong

ningbo history museum, 2003-2008, ningbo, china

image © lv hengzhong

ningbo history museum, 2003-2008, ningbo, china

image © lv hengzhong

ningbo history museum, 2003-2008, ningbo, china

image © lv hengzhong

ningbo history museum, 2003-2008, ningbo, china

image © lv hengzhong

ceramic house, 2003-2006, jinhua, china

image © lv hengzhong

ceramic house, 2003-2006, jinhua, china

image © lv hengzhong

five scattered houses, 2003-2006, ningbo, china

image © lang shuilong

five scattered houses, 2003-2006, ningbo, china

image © lang shuilong

tiled garden, 2006, 10th venice biennale of architecture, venice, italy

image © lu wenyu

tiled garden, 2006, 10th venice biennale of architecture, venice, italy

image © lu wenyu

ningbo tengtou pavilion, shanghai expo, 2010, shanghai, china

image © lu wenyu

ningbo tengtou pavilion, shanghai expo, 2010, shanghai, china

image © lu wenyu

ningbo tengtou pavilion, shanghai expo, 2010, shanghai, china

image © lu wenyu

  • Brilliant news, if this guy can win, I guess we\’re all in with a chance…I mean really, theres one half decent building here, the rest are either average or just play the same material games at a different scale. As for the pavillions, Shiguru Ban (amongst others)has been pulling those moves for years.

    Its a shame, the Pritzker Prize used to be a synonymous with architects whose work had something original to say, that all changed when they gave it to Souto de Moura, a vaguely above average practioner with a catalogue of work that leaves one distincly unmoved.

    steve says:
  • absolutely wonderful, well deserved

    LM says:
  • great…i’m living in hangzhou and i can only say ..great works!!

    lole says:
  • amazing

    fadime krcn says:
  • wang shu where’s the right sho

    joe says:
  • Really nice practice.
    Congratulations

    Fernando says:
  • of course everybody has a chance…
    but pls show your works at first, steve

    bo says:
  • verdaderamente artesanal !!!!!! congrat…

    isai ponce says:
  • So, steve, what´s your favorite not \”vaguely above average practioner\” Pritzker winner: I.M. Pei, K Roche, Bunshaft, Maki, Portzamparc? If this used to be synonymous with originality just give me dullness! I´ll stick with S Moura anytime. You should have a closer look at some of his work…

    As for Wang Shu and having visited the 2006 tiled bienal garden in loco it was just truly sensible. Some few other works are strong too, but overall: not consistent. This is all about politics. For quality alone there were many in line: Chipperfield, K Kuma and a larger number of underdogs and \”unknown junior\” offices all around the world. Chinese ones too. Choosing recent practices on quality alone, that would be a very different statement.

    js says:
  • p prize had had its ups and downs for sure- neither wang/aas nor steve were on my list. but nice to see someone building in china that is not the usual globalist cartel suspects. it\’s only images I know the work from, but seems thoughtful work deployed in a sensitive manner.

    mr toot says:
  • Looks like his usage of chinese roof tiles made him very popular among the judges.

    tyler says:
  • I full heartily applaud Wang Shu. However, for me its also a recognition of the emerging generation of Chinese architects still working in the shadow of the global starchitects, the former p prize laureates. I appreciate that the jury acknowledges his quest for a fusion of traditional Chinese and contemporary architecture. See my little article about the latest Chines architecture here http://stephensonturner.com/blog/next-chinese-architecture

    Bernd Gundermann says:
  • …ful, …..ful, ….ful and wonderful

    beatrice says:

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