It wasannounced onFebruary 27, the winnerof thePritzker Prizethisyear 2012is theChinese architectWangShu. For his design for the Historish Museum the Nangbo, China. ThePritzkerprizeis comparableto aNobel-prize in Architecture. WangShuis thefirst architectof Chinato win the award(let us remember that IMPeiwas Chinese, but worked only in America). According to theHyatt Foundation, presenter of theprize, Shu gets the prize for histraditional methodof building and his use of recycled materials. The prizethisyear is alreadyshrouded inmuch controversy, with professionalsindividingnegative and positive opinions. Fact is thatPritzkerhasbeengraduallymoving away from theawardof majorstars. Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas have won 1989 and in 2000. To revealand enforcethe disclosure oftalentedarchitectsand little knownoutside their countryof origin. If the award was deserved, only time will tell. At the moment, the fact is, that we know a little bit more about the work of an architect who formed and operates in a country still closed today as the Republic of China, can be important.
Unusually for an internationally decorated architect, Wang’s five major projects are all in China, many in his home region of Zhejiang near Shanghai. They include three college campuses and the Ningbo History Museum, and his work typically mixes modern design with traditional material. For the Art Academy in his native city, Hangzhou in 2007. He (re)used morethan two milliontraditional Chinesetiles fromdemolishedhouses.He gavethe tilesa second lifeby using theminthe first phase forthe campus of theacademy.That same yearhe built theVerticalCourtyard Apartments, consisting of six towerswith 26-storeycomponent. The project has beennominated in 2008for theInternational High-RiseAward.
The jurydeclaredthe buildings ofWangShuare of the pastwithoutdirect reference to thehistory.“WangShu’sarchitectureis an example ofhis strongsense ofcultural continuityand renewal oftradition.The work ofWangShutranscendsthe debate over whetherto architecturesomething is what only have to look forward and not back. Making his projects into timeless architecture, deeply rooted inits contextand yetuniversal. WangShuknowsthe challengesof a buildingandto embracethem and turn them in hisfavor.His approachis both criticaland experimentally.Withthe use of recycledmaterialshe bringsthe message; Of the careful useof existingresources and technology, and toact withrespectfor existingtraditions, particularly in China.
WangShushowed himselfsurprised at hislaureate.In a firstreaction, he said “The awardcomes as abig surprise.I realizesuddenlythat I‘ve madea lot of thingshappend.It provesthat hard work andperseveranceleads to achieve positiveresults.
Word by Wang Shu;
TheHistory Museumof Ningbois the result ofan international competitionheld in2004. What is the mainconcept that permeatesthe project?
Wang Shu Says; I joinedtwoways of thinking: I have definedas a smalltown and asmall mountain. NingboisanewChinese citywith urban planningpattern withwide roads, large buildingsandblocksoflow density. Thisisan bad urban model, whybecause it doesn’t account forthe vastgrowing population of China.I workfor a citythatwant to improvetheir structure. SoI designed it asasmallautonomous city. Another issueis that I wishmy architecturecommunicateto peoplehow lifein this townused to be. Ten years agothisused to beavery beautifulport city. Now everythingwas demolished. Wethencollectedconstruction materials in this area to recycle, for that reason, even though Iwon the competition, the local government did not like myproject.
Wang Shu Says; They think thecity is modernand in need ofamodern building. Butwhen thebuilding was completedand thepeople sawthe real thing, they loved it.I think it isaninteresting process. You seesome architectureon paper andlikeimmediately, butpeople seeingsomething like thisisdifficultto imaginehow it will bebuilt and howit will look likeat the end. Gobeyond your imaginationand experience.
These are photographs of the architecture of Wang Shu, and his firm, Amateur Architecture Studio, based in Hangzhou.
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