Wang Shu

We had our Annual Architecture Lecture tonight, given this year by Wang Shu and Lu Wengyu, the first Chinese architects to give the lecture in the last 26 years.   Wang Shu studied engineering and then moved to Hangzhou, where he and his wife established a small architectural studio which they called Amateur Architecture.   His wife had studied the traditional crafts of building construction and Wang Shu has been influenced by Proust, Levi-Strauss, calligraphy and Chinese gardens, establishing a small architectural school with Ai Weiwei and designing buildings of highly inventive ecological traditionalism using recycled materials (‘handicraft is more important than technology’).   In Britain or America, such conservatism, involving the preservation of rural traditions, would be unacceptable, but in China it is counter-cultural.   In 2012, they won the Pritzker Prize.   It is as if the Pritzker Prize was won by Leon Krier.

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