Chinese architect Wang Shu won the Pritzker Prize on Tuesday, considered the “Nobel” of architecture, the selection committee praising the “timeless” constructions he built in a country in the midst of transformation.
No Chinese had ever won this award, except for Ieoh Ming Pei, an American of Chinese descent, rewarded in 1983.
Wang Shu, 48, is the author of several achievements in eastern China, including the Suzhou City University Library in 2000, which won him a national award. He also built the Ningbo Museum of Art and History and the Hangzhou Academy of Arts.
“The work of Wang Shu, admired closely by the jury during a visit to China, leaves no doubt that we are in the presence of a master,” said the chairman of the jury, the Briton Peter Palumbo. He said that the members of the jury had taken their decision unanimously.
The $ 100,000 prize will be awarded to Wang Shu at a ceremony in Beijing on May 25.
“It’s really a big surprise,” said Wang Shu in a statement from the Hyatt Foundation, responsible for organizing the Pritzker Prize. “I am very honored. I just realized that I had done a lot during the past decade. It proves that hard work and persistence give positive results, ”he said.
The winner’s interest in the marriage of old and new as well as his penchant for ecology led him to recover more than 2 million tiles from houses under demolition in order to use them for the roofs of the Academy. of Hangzhou arts.
“The question of the ideal relationship between past and present comes at the right time: the urbanization of China poses to architecture the question of knowing whether it should be anchored in the past or look only to the future”, a observed Mr. Palumbo.
“As with any great architectural work, Wang Shu’s work transcends this debate and produces timeless architecture, which is deeply rooted in its environment but remains universal,” he argued.