Last week, while the ArchDaily team was in Mexico City for the Mextrópoli Conference, we caught up with Pritzker Jury member Juhani Pallasmaa and asked him to shed some light onto the recent winners of one of architecture’s highest honors. Watch Pallasmaa, a renowned Finnish architect and professor, explain what motivates his approach for recognizing architects in a world with “so much publicity.”
“The Pritzker jury has now, for at least 5 years, tried to select architects who are not the most obvious names because there is so much publicity in the architectural world and we’d rather try to find architects who have not been published everywhere else…”
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El País, Lu Wenyu defends her husband Wang Shu for solely receiving the Pritzker Prize in 2012. Despite the fact that the couple co-founded Amateur Architecture Studio and have worked side by side ever since, Wengyu maintains that her husband would have shared the Prize with her – she just didn’t want it.
She confides to El País: ”In China, you lose your life if you become famous. I want a life and I prefer to spend it with my son. Over there I don’t accept interviews. And not in English-speaking countries either [...] I’m happy to be able to do architecture that I believe helps our towns and cities to be better. I’m convinced that to talk about this awakens interest in others – not being famous.” Read the full interview at El País
Krumbach, a small Austrian village of 1000 inhabitants, is not the place you’d expect to find structures from a variety of architecture’s biggest names. But thanks to Verein Kultur Krumbach, a new association dedicated to encouraging culture in the village, that’s exactly what’s happening, with seven international architecture firms agreeing to design bus stops for Krumbach.
Read after the break to find out more about the seven designs.
The Chinese government is pushing forward with a plan that will move 250 million Chinese people from rural communities into newly constructed towns and cities over the next 12 years. The government has been bulldozing ancient villages, temples and open-air theaters as well as paving over farmland to make way for mega-cities that will raise the number of city-dwellers in China to nearly the total urban population of the US.
To find out how and why this is happening, keep reading.
BUS:STOP Krumbach is a recently initiated project in the Bregenzerwald region of Austria that will pair seven well-known architecture offices from around the world with seven local architects and allow them to work together on the design of seven new bus shelters in the town of Krumbach. A true collaboration between tradition and innovation, national and international, BUS:STOP hopes to create a series of small and functional buildings with their own unique characters that tell not only the story of these architects, but also of this special region.
For the list of participating offices and to learn more about BUS:STOP, read on.
TIME Magazine has released their tenth-edition of the 100 issue, representing who they believe to be the world’s 100 most influential people in 2013. Gracing the list among music titan Jay-Z and Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen is architecture’s very own Wang Shu, who was honored for “successfully blending China’s quest for novel and eye-catching architecture with respect for traditional aesthetics.”
Presented by The Architectural League of New York, the Wang Shu lecture is coming up this Tuesday, April 2nd, at The Cooper Union at 7:00pm. The 2012 Pritzker laureate will be discussing his current work and how Amateur Architecture Studio, founded by him and wife Lu Wenyu, incorporates his knowledge of everyday techniques to adapt and transform materials for contemporary projects. Some of his most important built works include the Library of Wenzheng College, Suzhou University; Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum; the Xiangshan Campus of the China Academy of Art; and the Ningbo History Museum. For more information, please visit here.
Originally published on the author’s website and blog on Archinect, ‘Ruins of an Alternate Future (Jinhua Architecture Park)’ was written by Shanghai-based architectural designer and theorist Evan Chakroff.
One of the great, if seldom realized, promises of architecture is its capacity to affect change. The best architects seem to have this potential in mind constantly as they structure career-length narratives around the social impact that good design can achieve. While this is often hyperbole, and most projects are driven by functional or economic considerations, there is the occasional opportunity for artists and architects to create purely speculative work, where radical departures from established typologies suggest alternatives to the status quo. In these rare cases, novelty is embraced not for its own sake, but for its potential to generate new archetypes, to provide a glimpse into a parallel world where architecture truly has agency: where design can change society for the better.
Continue reading after the break…
Wang Shu’s design process always begins with an intense study of the location. The architect spends as long as possible on the site, absorbing its atmosphere. He then produces drafts in the form of hand-drawn sketches, creating them in relatively quick succession. Imagining the House follows this process in various buildings. Photographic documentation of the locations elucidate Shu’s on-site research. The reproductions of drawings in this book demonstrate how the designs change and become more concrete over the course of the process. The book provides unique insights into the work of an architect who has hitherto received little attention in Europe, thereby addressing a considerable omission in the publishing world.
The Wall Street Journal announced Wang Shu as architecture’s “Innovator of the Year 2012”, commending his “deceptively simple” vision that is “drafting a new architectural blueprint for his country”. The 49-year-old Chinese architect, whose work has been described as China’s “new regional style”, is one of the most influential architects in what is becoming one of the most important countries in the world.
After founding Amateur Architecture Studio with his wife, Lu Wenyu, in 1997, the Pritzker Prize laureate has created a succession of acclaimed projects throughout China, from civic buildings to private homes to exhibition pavilions. Some of his most prominent works include the monumental Ningbo Museum of Art, constructed of locally salvaged materials, and the uniquely crafted Xiangshan Campus for the China Academy of Art. Both projects exhibit Shu’s innovative balance between traditional and contemporary Chinese architecture that remains deeply rooted within it’s context.
As we announced earlier, Pritzker Prize Laureate Wang Shu of Amateur Architecture (China), Rahul Mehrotra of RMA architects (India) and Francine Houben of Mecanoo (The Netherlands) participated in GREENHOUSE TALK at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The informal discussion focused on the current reality of design culture in the great countries of Eastern Asia and Europe.
The video begins with an introduction (in Italian) by architect and Senior curator of MAXXI Roma, Pippo Ciorra, which then leads into some fascinating commentary (in English, with Italian subtitles) by the highlighted protagonists.
The GREENHOUSE TALK event was promoted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome, in collaboration with MAXXI and NAi.
Join the authors and editors of Lars Müller Publishers for a rare book signing opportunity with architects Wang Shu, Sou Fujimoto, and Steven Holl on August 28th at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale! This event will kick off the exhibition Lars Müller Publishers – Book Fever, which will feature sixty publications – new releases, bestsellers, milestones from the past, and rare treasures – for the public to explore.
Founded thirty years ago, Lars Müller Publishers’ carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, and contemporary art has lead them to become a renowned international publisher. One milestone you may remember was their release of Peter Zumthor’s Works (1998), which was the first survey of the oeuvre of the architect now known worldwide that set new standards for the monograph as a book genre.
Continue after the break for more details on the book signing and exhibition.
Opening up September 4 at 5pm with a lecture by 2012 Pritzker Prize Winner, architect Wang Shu, the exhibition of projects of Chinese architects focuses on the theoretical research on architecture and design as well as building practice currently found fertile ground in any contemporary China but particularly in the city of Shanghai. Organized by La Triennale of Milan and the Degree Course in Engineering/Architecture from the University of Pavia, yhe center of the debate will be on urban development and architecture thanks to the cultural milieu linked to Tongji University. More information on the exhibition after the break.
(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:
Two days before lecturing at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Wang Shu was announced as the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Prize. In this interview, Wang Shu discusses his work with architectural historian Robert McCarter, the Sam Fox School’s Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture, and Seng Kuan, assistant professor of architecture. The interview takes place in the University’s Mildred Land Kemper Art Museum, designed by Pritzker laureate and former WUSTL professor, Fumihiko Maki.
Taken by Clement Guillaume, the photographs in this post include projects by the 2012 Pritzker Prize winner, Wang Shu, Chinese architect and founder of Amateur Architecture Studio. The projects featured here include Campus Hangzhou, CIPA Nanjing, Five Squared Houses, Ningbo, Zhongshan Lu, and Vertical Houses. Shu’s projects present a contemporary and progressive approach that acknowledges the rich tradition of Chinese architecture and as one of the jury members for the Pritzker Prize stated, ‘produces an architecture that is timeless and deeply rooted in its context and yet universal.’ A gallery of images can be viewed after the break.
From Iwan Baan‘s website we are bringing you two more projects by 2012 Pritzker laureate, Wang Shu: The Ceramic House (Coffee House) in the Jinhua Architecture Park, where Ai Wei Wei, working as the curator, brought together 16 architects from around the world to create a pavilion-city along the banks of the river Yiwu; and the Zhongshan Road renovation in Hangzhou.
Some more photographs after the break, and the complete photoset on Iwan’s website.
China must be going crazy.
In recent years, the growth of China has been incredible. We have often likened the massive surge of projects in the country to the explosive levels of architectural experimentation in Dubai. OMA, Hadid, Holl, Foster, Morphosis – strong powerhouses of architecture – all seeking to help China meet the demands of its emerging world power position by springing from the basis of a historically isolated culture and leaping to craft a more globalized image for the country. Such an image creates the desire for an architecture which can continually out shine itself as it challenges traditional materiality, scale and contextual relationships in China’s modern cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, Hangzhou and West Kowloon.
Perhaps, that is precisely why many have not heard of Wang Shu and Amateur Architecture Studio. And, perhaps, that is precisely why this Pritzker award carries such weight.