Chinese architect Wang Shu is the 2012 laureate of the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor. The 48 year old architect whose practice Amateur Architecture Studio is based in Hangzhou, The People’s Republic of China, was announced today by Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize. The formal award ceremony will be held in Beijing on May 25.
In announcing the jury’s choice, Pritzker elaborated, “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.”
Upon learning that he was being honored, Wang Shu had this reaction: “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.”
Following is a small selection of Wang Shu's work.
The distinguished jury that selected the 2012 Pritzker Laureate consists of its chairman, The Lord Palumbo, internationally known architectural patron of London, chairman of the trustees, Serpentine Gallery, former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, former chairman of the Tate Gallery Foundation, and former trustee of the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and alphabetically: Alejandro Aravena, architect and executive director of Elemental in Santiago, Chile; Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Washington, D.C.; Yung Ho Chang, architect and educator, Beijing, The People’s Republic of China; Zaha Hadid, architect and 2004 Pritzker Laureate; Glenn Murcutt, architect and 2002 Pritzker Laureate of Sydney, Australia; Juhani Pallasmaa, architect, professor and author of Helsinki, Finland; and Karen Stein, writer, editor and architectural consultant in New York. Martha Thorne, associate dean for external relations, IE School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain, is the executive director of the prize.
The list of past Pritzker Prize laureates also includes big names like Eduardo Souto de Moura (2011), Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (2010), Peter Zumthor (2009), Thom Mayne (2005), Zaha Hadid (2004), Rem Koolhaas (2000), Norman Foster (1999), Tadao Ando (1995), Alvaro Siza (1992), Luis Barragán (1980) and - winner of the first Pritzker Prize ever - Philip Johnson in 1979.