Chinese Architect Wins 2012 Pritzker Prize

On Monday it was announced that the most prestigious annual award in architecture has gone to Wang Shu, a 48-year-old Chinese architect with a "relatively low profile" who has yet to design a building outside of China, writes Christopher Hawthorne.

While the selection of Shu may seem surprising, it follows a recent trend away from the starchitect ascendance of the last decade and towards a "spare, muscular formal language with an emphasis on craftsmanship and regional character."

Hawthorne sees another agenda at work in the selection, a rebuke to the vapid qualities of much of contemporary Chinese architecture. "It's clear that for the eight-member Pritzker jury...his firm's intentionally imperfect work stood out as a thoughtful alternative to the sleekly generic towers that now dominate the skylines of rapidly expanding Chinese cities."

Hawthorne had an opportunity to speak to Shu on Saturday, prior to the announcement, in advance of a long-scheduled lecture at UCLA. Among the items discussed was Shu's, "eagerness in several recent project to collaborate with -- and even cede design control to -- the contractors and construction workers who build his projects."

Another item of discussion was the role of Shu's wife and design partner, Lu Wenyu, in the work of the firm, and whether her omission from the prize repeats the erroneous exclusion of Denise Scott Brown in 1991.

Full Story: Pritzker Prize goes to Wang Shu, 48-year-old Chinese architect

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95