China’s Wang Shu Wins Pritzker Prize

Forget the Oscars (but didn’t Gwyneth look stunning in that Tom Ford number?), it’s Pritzker time. This year’s architectural megaprize goes to Wang Shu, whose practice is based in Hangzhou, China. He’ll receive the prize—$100,000 and a swell bronze medallion inscribed with the Vitruvian ideal of “firmness, commodity, and delight” —on May 25 in a ceremony in Beijing. “This is really a big surprise,” said Wang, 48, when he learned that he would be joining past Pritzker laureates such as Philip Johnson (1979), Tadao Ando (1995), and Zaha Hadid (2004), who served on the nine-member jury for this year’s prize along with the likes of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and 2002 laureate Glenn Murcutt. “I am tremendously honored to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. I suddenly realized that I’ve done many things over the last decade. It proves that earnest hard work and persistence lead to positive outcomes.” The jury praised Wang’s buildings, which include the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University (below, at left) and the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum (at right), for their “unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history” and “strong sense of cultural continuity and re-invigorated tradition.”

(Photos from left: Lu Wenyu and Lv Hengzhong, courtesy Amateur Architecture Studio)