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Chinese architect wins 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize


08:29, March 01, 2012

Wang Shu (2nd R) introduces architecture frame to a student at the Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Dec. 9, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Xiaoguo)

Chinese architect Wang Shu has won the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize, according to a Monday announcement by Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize. The 49-year-old Wang was the first architect from the Chinese mainland to win the prize, joining Leoh Ming Pei, a famous Chinese-American architect who won the prize in 1983. "The question of the proper relation of present to past is particularly timely, for the recent process of urbanization in China invites debate as to whether architecture should be anchored in tradition or should look only towards the future," said Lord Palumbo, a Pritzker Prize jury chairman, in a statement. "As with any great architecture, Wang Shu's work is able to transcend that debate, producing an architecture that is timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal," Lord Palumbo said. All of Wang's works were built in China, including the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University and "Five Scattered Houses" in east China's Zhejiang province. Wang expressed surprise at his victory, stating that he believes his work and efforts over the last ten years have finally paid off. Wang graduated from the Architecture Department at the Nanjing Institute of Technology. In 2000, he became the department chairman of the architecture art of the China Academy of Art. His works "Decay of Dome" in 2010 earned him a special honor award of Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition. Wang, who founded the Amateur Architecture Studio firm with his wife Lu Wenyu in 1997, explained that he opened the studio "out of interest (in the art)," not "for material interests or treating it as a profession." Chinese architect and jury member Yung Ho Chang said Wang's works are "deeply rooted in Chinese culture with a strong sense of cultural continuity." "The cultural atmosphere for a site is more important than the architecture itself," said Wang. The formal Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony will be held in Beijing on May 25.

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Paul Harding, FAIA at 2012-03-0198.213.46.*
Congratulations to Wang Shu on this great honor. It is the highest honor given to an architect in the world. This is also a huge honor for the Chinese people and their wonderful culture.Paul Harding, FAIAHarding Partners ArchitectsChicago, USA

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