(Chinese readers can watch this video at Youku)
Last year the ceremony was held in Washington DC with the presence of President Obama, and this year the event was also held in an important political context, at the People’s Hall of Beijing, with the presence of important Chinese government officials related to the urban process of China, including the Mayor of Beijing and the Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
In my opinion Wang Shu’s architecture presents a contemporary and progressive approach that acknowledges the rich tradition of Chinese architecture, considering not only projects in dense urban contexts but also in the rural areas of China. As the next generations of Chinese architects are influenced by his architecture, a generation that will be an active part of China’s growth, he will indirectly influence how millions will live in the next years.
I think that for the first time the Pritzker Prize became something beyond a mere recognition to the great work of a living architect, turning into a statement on how architecture should face the rapid growth of our cities in the Urban Age to improve the quality of life of the next 3 billion that will move into cities in the next 40 years.
Wang Shu’s acceptance speech:
“Winning this award is something unexpected. For many years, I have been pursuing my dream on a lonely course. Before this, I had never published any architectural design collection or designed any buildings outside of China. I always see myself as an amateur architect, so it is absolutely a huge pleasant surprise to receive this honor. I wish to thank the judges for their insight and fair comments. This award is of special importance for the Chinese architectural industry. As a young architect, I have to say that I owe this award to the age we now live in. It is in this golden age that China has achieved unprecedented prosperity and openness, giving me so many opportunities for making difficult architectural experiments in such a short span of time. Here, I wish to thank my partner Lu Wenyu and all my friends who have helped me before.”
“I always say that I am not just designing a building, but a world of diversity and difference and a path that leads us back to the nature. These are the questions I was asking myself when I got to know that I was given the award, and these are the questions I will continue to focus on in my future endeavors.”