Wang Shu: the first Chinese winner of the Pritzker Prize
Wang Shu (王澍) is a Chinese contemporary architect, winner of the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 2012. At present, he is the dean of Architectural Art College of China Academy of fine arts. His main works are the library of Wenzheng College of Suzhou University, Ningbo Art Museum, and the Xiangshan new campus of China Academy of fine arts in Hangzhou.
Wang Shu not only applies wisdom and creativity to the design of urban architecture but also focuses on the broad field of rural China to create a better poetic living space for more people. Wang Shu’s works break through the existing rules and are good at developing meaningful artistic conception and enlightening wisdom from the most ordinary materials. Up to now, the Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of fine arts in Hangzhou is regarded as the best embodiment of Wang Shu‘s architectural view.
In Wang Shu‘s guise, the Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of fine arts embodies the beauty of the peach blossom garden and the characteristics of traditional countryside. “Wang Shu opened a new field of vision for us, and at the same time aroused resonance between scenes and memories,” the awarding speech reported. His architecture is ingenious and evokes the past without directly using historical elements. ”
To Wang Shu, what’s more important than architecture is the cultural atmosphere of a place, and what’s more important than technology is the splendid language norms and thoughts in the simple construction technology. ” The artist named his studio “amateur architecture studio”. In his opinion, amateur architecture is first of all an attitude, a critical experimental architecture attitude, but it may be more thorough and basic than any professional architecture experiment. Without thoroughness, any architectural experiment will be meaningless.
Wang Shu‘s planning and design of Xiangshan Campus of Chinese Academy of fine arts rediscovered the traditional space concept of China in the contemporary architectural aesthetic narrative, and interpreted the spirit of gardens and academies; the use of old building materials such as bricks, tiles, and stones from the demolition site of Zhejiang Province, reflected the characteristics of “cyclic construction” of Chinese architecture and was a response to the large-scale demolition and reconstruction of the city at present.
“His works transcend cultural conflicts.” This is an important sentence in awarding him the Pritzker Prize. In the traditional and modern times, across the East and the west, between the upper and the lower. Under the alternation of the weak and the strong, he skillfully used the most simple handicraft to resolve the cultural conflict.
Wang Shu is wise because he can keep a peaceful mind to discover the essence of architecture in the flashy world style; he is wise because his design in his works can reflect his unique perspective and profound views on Chinese culture, and throughout. The chairman of the Pritzker Prize jury said of him: “his works can transcend controversy and evolve into buildings rooted in its historical background that are timeless and even cosmopolitan.”
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