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Pritzker Prize winner 2012: Wang Shu

01.03.12

Wang Shu, Chinese architect and founder of Amateur Architecture Studio, has been announced as the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Prize. The Pritzker Prize’s purpose is “to honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”.

Wang Shu, a 48 year old architect whose architectural practice is based in Hangzhou, China, is the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize, it was announced by Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize. The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as architecture’s highest honor will be in Beijing on May 25.

In announcing the jury’s choice, Pritzker elaborated, “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 urbanization will be important to China and to the world. This urbanization, like urbanization around the world, needs to be in harmony with local needs and culture. 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.”

The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was founded in 1979 by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, is to honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The laureates receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Wang Shu’s most noteworthy work includes the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University, built in 2000 and honoured in 2004 with the Architecture Art Award of China; the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum built in 2005 and the Ningbo History Museum in 2008. In his native city of Hangzhou, he did the first phase of the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art in 2004, and then completed phase two of the same campus in 2007. Other international recognition includes the French Gold Medal from the Academy of Architecture in 2011. The year before, both he and his wife, Lu Wenyu, were awarded the German Schelling Architecture Prize. Since 2000, Wang Shu has been the head of the Architecture Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.

Image of the New Art Academy Hangzhou by Amateur Architecture Studio