The Pritzker Prize panel stated: “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.”
Throughout his work Wang has paid close attention to the environment, the building’s relationship to its site and surroundings, and the use of materials. In his project for the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art, he salvaged over two million tiles from demolished traditional houses to cover the roofs of the campus buildings. Since 2000, Wang Shu has been the head of the Architecture Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Last year, he became the first Chinese architect to hold the position of “Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor” at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has been a frequent visiting professor at UCLA, Harvard, the University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has also received other awards including the 2004 Architecture Art Award of China, a Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in the Asia-Pacific region, the 2010 Schelling Architecture Prize, and the 2011 French Gold Medal from the Academy of Architecture.
Upon learning of his award, Wang Shu said, “This is really a big surprise. I am tremendously honored to receive the Pritzker architecture Prize. I suddenly realized that I’ve done many things over the last decade. It proves that earnest hard work and persistence lead to positive outcomes.”
Lead Photo by Romain Milan