2012 Pritzker Prize Laureate: Wang Shu
This week, Chinese architect Wang Shu was named the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, an annual award to honor 'a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture'. Often considered the 'Nobel Prize of Architecture', it's the highest honor an architect can receive, and past Laureates include such well-known and prestigious names as Philip Johnson, Luis Barragan, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid.
However, this year, the jury selected a younger architect with less of an international presence, naming Wang Shu as the first Chinese recipient of the award.
Born in 1963, Wang Shu founded his office with wife Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio, in the 1990s and continued on to design iconic projects including the History Museum at Ningbo and the Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou.
From the jury's citation: 'The 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize is given to Wang Shu for the exceptional nature and quality of his executed work, and also for his ongoing commitment to pursuing an uncompromising, responsible architecture arising from a sense of specific culture and place.'
In spite of some controversy regarding the political implications and intentions of this year's selection, of which much has been written, we'd prefer to focus Wang Shu's accomplishments and a few notable projects, work that has been described as both monumental and timeless while rooted in context and tradition.