Wang Shu; image © Zhu Chenzhou

Wang Shu; image © Zhu Chenzhou

As is reported by Robin Pogrebin from The New York Times, the Chinese architect Wang Shu, whose buildings in a rapidly developing China honor the past with salvaged materials even as they experiment with modern forms, has been awarded the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Mr. Wang is the first Chinese citizen to win the prize (I. M. Pei, an American, was the first Chinese-born architect to win, in 1983) and the fourth-youngest. The selection of Mr. Wang, 48, is an acknowledgment of “the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals,” said Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize and announced the winner on Monday.

“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,” the jury said in its citation. “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.”

The prize, founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, to honor a living architect, consists of a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion, which this year will be awarded at a ceremony in Beijing on May 25.

A history museum by Wang Shu in Ningbo, China, a port city, includes local recycled materials.

A history museum by Wang Shu in Ningbo, China, a port city, includes local recycled materials. image© Lv Hengzhong

In announcing the jury’s choice, Thomas J. Pritzker said “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.” reported by Jennifer Mattson from globalpost.com.

The prize not only honors Wang Shu but recognizes China’s current and future role in architecture and urbanization.

“This is really a big surprise. I suddenly realized that I’ve done many things over the last decade,” Wang Shu said. “It proves that earnest hard work and persistence lead to positive outcomes.”

Wangshu graduated from the Nanjing Institute of Technology in 1985 and followed with his graduate degree from the same program. His completed works include the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum and Ningbo History Museum both located in Ningbo, China. Along with the Xiangshan Campus of the China Academy of Art  in Hangzhou, China, his temporary works include a pavilion for both the 2010 and 2006 Venice Architecture Biennales.

"Decay of a dome" created by Wang Shu at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010

"Decay of a dome" created by Wang Shu at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010; image © designboom

"Ultra-light Village" on display in Shenzhen's Civic Square at the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism

"Ultra-light Village" on display in Shenzhen's Civic Square at the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism;image © designboom

References and Reports related to this:

1. For First Time, Architect in China Wins Field’s Top Prize covered by The New York Times

2.Chinese architect Wang Shu wins 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize covered by globalpost.com

3.Wang Shu wins the 2012 pritzker prize covered by designboom.com

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