GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Wang Shu, 48, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize, to be awarded at a ceremony in Beijing in May.
His architectural practice is based in Hangzhou, China, where he has focused on recycling material from old buildings that removed to make way for the new.
The coveted prize, widely considered one of the highest accolades in the world of architecture, is significant because it goes to a Chinese architect and also to one who mastered his skills outside the usual world of architects. CNN reports that “unlike many of his contemporaries who studied overseas in the United States and Europe, Wang trained in China.He took the unusual step of taking on almost no commissions during the 1990s, instead learning about building materials by working closely with the kind of craftsmen normally shunned by office-bound architects.”
The Hyatt Foundation, which awards the prize, notes in its announcement:
“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.”
Two of his works: