Wang Shu (Chinese: 王澍, born 4 November 1963) is a Chinese architect based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He is the dean of the School of Architecture of the China Academy of Art. In 2012, Wang became the first Chinese citizen to win the Pritzker Prize, the world's top prize in architecture.
Early life and education
Wang Shu began to draw and paint as a child, without any formal training in art.
As a compromise between art, his passion, and engineering, his parents' recommendation, Wang chose to study architecture at the Nanjing Institute of Technology (now Southeast University) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province and received a bachelor's degree in 1985 and a master's degree in 1988.
Although Wang lived in Ürümqi and Beijing in his early life, after college he moved to Hangzhou for the city's natural landscapes and ancient tradition of art. He worked for the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) and in 1990 completed his first architectural project, a youth centre in the small city of Haining near Hangzhou.
Wang did not have any commission between 1990 and 1998. Instead, he chose to further his studies at the School of Architecture of Tongji University in Shanghai, earning a PhD in 2000.
In 1997, Wang Shu and his wife Lu Wenyu, also an architect, founded the firm Amateur Architecture Studio. They chose the name as a rebuke of the "professional, soulless architecture" practiced in China, which they believe has contributed to the large-scale demolition of many old urban neighborhoods.
Wang joined the faculty of the China Academy of Art in 2000 as a professor, became the head of the Architecture Department in 2003, and was named Dean of the School of Architecture in 2007.
In 2000, Wang designed the Library of Wenzheng College at Soochow University, which won the inaugural Architecture Art Award of China in 2004. His Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo won the Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in the Asia Pacific in 2005. In 2008 his Vertical Courtyard Apartments in Hangzhou was nominated for the International High Rise Award.
In 2008 he completed the Ningbo Museum, a project he won in 2004 after an international competition. The building's facade is constructed entirely of recycled bricks, and its shape - resembling nearby mountains - reflects its natural setting. The museum won the 2009 Lu Ban Prize, the top architecture prize in China.
Wang's other major projects include the Ningbo Museum of Art (2005), the Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art (2007) and the Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street, Hangzhou (2009).
His architecture has been described as "opening new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory", experimental, and as a rare example of critical regionalism in China.
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