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Wang Shu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang.

Wang Shu


4 November 1963 (age 50) rmqi, Xinjiang, China



Alma mater

Nanjing Institute of Technology (now Southeast University), Tongji University


Pritzker Prize


Ningbo Museum

Wang Shu (Chinese: , born 4 November 1963)[1] is a Chinese architect based inHangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He is the dean of the School of Architecture of the China Academy of Art. In 2012, Wang became the first Chinese citizen to win the Pritzker Prize, the world's top prize in architecture.[2][3]

1 Early life and education 2 Career 3 Approach 4 Awards 5 Personal life 6 Major works 7 References 8 External links

Early life and education[edit]

Wang Shu was born on 4 November 1963 in rmqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. He began to draw and paint as a child, without any formal training in art.[1] Despite the antiintellectual fervor of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), his mother gave him access to the library and he read widely, from "Pushkin to Lu Xun."[4] As a compromise between art, his passion, and engineering, his parents' recommendation, Wang chose to study architecture at the Nanjing Institute of Technology (now Southeast University) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province and received a bachelor's degree in 1985 and a master's degree in 1988.[1] Although Wang lived in rmqi and Beijing in his early life, after college he moved to Hangzhou for the city's natural landscapes and ancient tradition of art. He worked for the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) and in 1990 completed his first architectural project, a youth centre in the small city of Haining near Hangzhou.[1] Wang did not have any commissions between 1990 and 1998. During that time his wife Lu Wenyu supported the family.[5] Instead, he chose to further his studies at the School of Architecture of Tongji University in Shanghai, earning a PhD in 2000.[1]


Ningbo Museum of Art (2005)

Ningbo Museum (2008)

Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion, Shanghai Expo (2010)

In 1997, Wang Shu and his wife Lu Wenyu, also an architect, founded the firm Amateur Architecture Studio.[2] They chose the name as a rebuke of the "professional, soulless architecture" practiced in China, which they believe has contributed to the large-scale demolition of many old urban neighborhoods.[1] Wang joined the faculty of the China Academy of Art in 2000 as a professor, became the Head of the Architecture Department in 2003, and was named Dean of the School of Architecture in 2007.[1] In 2000, Wang designed the Library of Wenzheng College at Soochow University, which won the inaugural Architecture Art Award of China in 2004.[1][2] His Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo won the Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in the Asia Pacific in 2005. In 2008 his Vertical Courtyard Apartments in Hangzhou was nominated for the International Highrise Award.[1] In 2008 he completed the Ningbo Museum, a project he won in 2004 after an international competition.[2] The building's facade is constructed entirely of recycled bricks, and its shape - resembling nearby mountains reflects its natural setting.[6] The museum won the 2009 Lu Ban Prize, the top architecture prize in China.[7] Wang's other major projects include the Ningbo Museum of Art (2005), the Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art (2007) and the Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street, Hangzhou (2009).[1] His architecture has been described as "opening new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory",[8] experimental, and as a rare example of critical regionalism in China.[9]


Wang creates modern buildings making use of traditional materials and applying older techniques. The Ningbo Museum is constructed of bricks salvaged from buildings which had been demolished to facilite new developments. Wang is a keen supporter of architectural heritage where globalisation has stripped cities of their special attributes.[10] "In an age where the goal is to offer a distinct, individualized style, Shu has shied away from such a prerogative. Ironically, with his manner of seamlessly meshing the contemporary with the cultural, innovation with tradition, Shus work has come to define itself. The work is infused with fresh material juxtapositions and an expressive quality grounded in traditional formal proportions and scale."

He requires his freshman architecture students to spend a year working with their hands, learning basic carpentry and bricklaying, and Wang also requires other teachers in the department learn basic building skills. Because he believes "Only people who understand the nature of materials can make art using the materials."

In 2010, Wang and his wife Lu Wenyu together won the German Schelling Architecture Prize,[12] and in 2011 he received the Gold Medal from the French Academy of Architecture.[1] In 2012, Wang won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In so doing, he became the first Chinese citizen (second winner of Chinese descent after I. M. Pei) to win this prize, and the fourth youngest person to win.[2] The jury, which included Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid and the US Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, highlighted Wang's "unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history" and called his work "timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal."[8][2] The chairman of the Hyatt Foundation said Wang's win represented "a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals" going forward.[13] Zhu Tao, a Chinese architectural critic and historian, speculated that the win could signify a turning point in Chinese architectural history saying the prize "sends a message that architecture is a cultural enterprise ... that architects are creators of culture."[13] Alejandro Aravena, a member of the Pritzker Prize jury, stated "Wang Shus outstanding architecture may be the consequence of being able to combine talent and intelligence. This combination allows him to produce masterpieces when a monument is needed, but also very careful and contained architecture when a monument is not the case. The intensity of his work may be a consequence of his relative youth, but the precision and appropriateness of his operations talk of great maturity."[14]

Personal life[edit]
Wang Shu's father is a musician and an amateur carpenter. His mother is a teacher and school librarian in Beijing. His sister is also a teacher.[1]

Wang is married to Lu Wenyu, who is also his business partner and fellow professor of architecture at the China Academy of Art.[12] In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Wang expressed his sentiment that his wife deserved to share the Pritzker Prize with him.[15]

Major works[edit]
Major works by Wang include:[1] Completed

Youth Center (1990), Haining Library of Wenzheng College at Soochow University (19992000), Suzhou Ningbo Museum of Art (200105) Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Phases I & II (200207), Hangzhou Vertical Courtyard Apartments (200207), Hangzhou Sanhe House (2003), Nanjing Teaching Building of the Music and Dance Department (200305), Dongguan Ceramic House (200306), Jinhua Five Scattered Houses (200306), Ningbo Ningbo Museum (200308) Tiles garden, Venice Biennale of Architecture (2006), Italy Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street (200709), Hangzhou Exhibition Hall of the Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty (2009), Hangzhou Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion, Shanghai Expo (2010)

Under construction or in design phase

Heyun Culture and Leisure Centers (2009), Kunming City Cultural Center (2010), Jinhua Shi Li Hong Zhuang Traditional Dowry Museum (2010), Ninghai Contemporary Art Museum on the Dock (2010), Zhoushan Buddhist Institute Library (2011), Hangzhou

Jury Citation The architecture of the 2012 Pritzker Prize Laureate Wang Shu, opens new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory. His buildings have the unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history. Born in 1963 and educated in China, Wang Shus architecture is exemplary in its strong sense of cultural continuity and re-invigorated tradition. In works undertaken by the office he founded with his partner and wife Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio, the past is literally given new life as the relationship between past and present is explored. 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 toward the future. As with any great architecture, Wang Shus work is able to transcend that debate, producing an architecture that is timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal. Wang Shus buildings have a very rare attributea commanding and even, at times, monumental presence, while functioning superbly and creating a calm environment for life and daily activities. The History Museum at Ningbo is one of those unique buildings that while striking in photos, is even more moving when experienced. The museum is an urban icon, a well-tuned repository for history and a setting where the visitor comes first. The richness of the spatial experience, both in the exterior and interior is remarkable. This building embodies strength, pragmatism and emotion all in one. Wang Shu knows how to embrace the challenges of construction and employ them to his advantage. His approach to building is both critical and experimental. Using recycled materials, he is able to send several messages on the careful use of resources and respect for tradition and context as well as give a frank appraisal of technology and the quality of construction today, particularly in China. Wang Shus works that use recycled building materials, such as roof tiles and bricks from dismantled walls, create rich textural and tactile collages. Working in collaboration with construction workers, the outcome sometimes has an element of unpredictability, which in his case, gives the buildings a freshness and spontaneity. In spite of his age, young for an architect, he has shown his ability to work successfully at various scales. The Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou is like a small town, providing a setting for learning and living for students, professors and staff. The exterior and interior connections between buildings and private and public spaces provide a rich environment where an emphasis on livability prevails. He is also capable of creating buildings on an intimate scale, such as the small exhibition hall or pavilions inserted into the fabric of the historic center of Hangzhou. As in all great architecture, he does this with a masters naturalness, making it look as if it were an effortless exercise. He calls his office Amateur Architecture Studio, but the work is that of a virtuoso in full command of the instruments of architectureform, scale, material, space and light. The 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize is given to Wang Shu for the exceptional nature and quality of his executed work, and also for his ongoing commitment to pursuing an uncompromising, responsible architecture arising from a sense of specific culture and place.

The Infinite Spontaneity of Tradition By Grace Ong Yan Through the thick, humid air in the seaside city of Ningbo, China an unexpectedly singular architecture stands out from a bland commercial district. Comprised of an accumulation of materials, the Ningbo Historic Museum rises up from the ground as a squared geometry, then angles outward towards the top. Architecture as mountains (1) is how its architect, Wang Shu describes his design for the Ningbo Historic Museum. The matter-of-fact, yet monumental manner in which his architecture sits on the barren plaza is no mistake. Envisioning a natural formation is, in fact, a re-instatement of the rural past into what has become a hyper-urbanized context, devoid of history. The museums site is a flat, paved landscape, dotted by nondescript buildings. By creating an artificial mountain, Wang has shaped an architectural topography that is filled with an abundance of nature-inspired experiences. The building massing appears monumental but once inside, Wangs architecture is focused around experience. The museum as a mountain is composed of three valleys, four caves, four sunken courtyards, a body of water with reed covered banks, as well as a mountainous topography. Wang expresses the buildings key moments of space and circulation as natural phenomena. Understandin g Ningbo Historic Museum as a landscape is key to perceiving the projects meaning. Movement through the building is not expeditious, but slow and thoughtful, as if we have been transported to a past, pre-technological time. Wang has imagined his architecture as a kind of Chinese garden where a likely scenario involves a thoughtful scholar meandering through the landscape. The buildings circulation was conceived as a labyrinth of pathways, (2) which means that multiple paths interconnect with public spaces. As a result, inhabiting the building is wonderfully cinematic. The exterior of the Ningbo Historic Museum was conceived as a kind of mountainous topography. Through different devices, Wang Shus allusion to nature occurs on both the interior and the exterior of his building. Its walls have been built with what Wang calls, Chinese vernacular sustainable construction. (3) In response to the large-scale demolitions and reconstructions in China, millions of pieces of bricks and roof tiles from different decades are salvaged from demolition sites all over the province to construct the new building.(4) The collected building rubble is used in the construction of new walls with the rammed earth wall technique. While quarried earth is traditionally used to fill the walls, Wang has reinvented the technique by using rubble from demolished villages as fill. It is at once a rejection of Chinas demolition and renewal projects, and a way to ensure continuity of the regions history in its new construction. Additionally, the appeal of rammed earth walls as a sustainable building technology is recognized as intelligent and timely. Another major project designed by Amateur Architecture Studio, Wang Shus architectural practice with his partner and wife, architect Lu Wenyu, is the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art, in Hangzhou China. Wang Shu has served as the head of China Academy of Arts architecture department at the since 2000. Xingshan Campus is not contained as a single mass as at Ningbo, but an accumulation of more than twenty discrete buildings that make up a campus for studying, working, and living. Wangs approach was to allow the pastoral site, composed of a large hill, rivers, and trees, to inform how the architecture would be situated. As a result, nature and architecture not only co-exist but also complement one other. While Xingshan Campus is vast in size, its scale does not feel this way and can be described as an architecture of accumulation and variation. While the complex demonstrates a consistency of design, it also possesses the bricolage of a rural village in its use of a variety of local and available materials and siting. Again, as with the Ningbo Historic Museum and other projects, Wang utilized Chinese vernacular sustainable construction. Bricks and tiles collected from the Zhejiang province which would have been otherwise treated as garbage, were reused. Xingshan Campus planning is not grid-based, but a tight layout of scattered architecture. This approach, like that of the Greek tradition, gives experiential views of buildings as three-dimensional rather than as frontal. As well, picturesque views are offered through idiosyncratically shaped openings. Through these openings, one sees compositions of building facades, and courtyards, as well as glimpses of the fertile landscape beyond. These framed views are rich and complex, highlighting the variety of light, materials, and shapes seen throughout the campus. Building profiles and roofs are reminiscent of Chinese temple roofs, yet firmly contemporary. At the Xingshan campus, architecture has achieved the variance found only in nature. Textures, shapes, and colors are defined by the natural landscape and the architecture. (1)Wang Shu quoted in Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu, Ningbo History Museum,GA Document 112(2010): Featuring: China Today(Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita, 2010), 95. (2)Ibid. (3)Wang Shu quoted in Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu, Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, GA Document 112(2010): Featuring: China Today (Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita, 2010), 112 (4)Ibid.