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2012 Pritzker Prize Laureate announced

February 28, 2012

Chinese architect Wang Shu, founder of Amateur Architecture Studio, announced as recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Prize.

Chinese architect Wang Shu will be honoured with the 2012 Pritzker Prize, it has been announced.

Shu, who is also due to speak in Australia at this year’s AIA National Architecture Conference, will be presented with the architecture profession’s highest honour at an official ceremony in Beijing on 25 May.

Born in 1963 and educated in China, Shu established his practice, Amateur Architecture Studio, in Hangzhou with wife and business partner Lu Wenyu in 1997. He is the second Chinese architect to receive the award after I. M. Pei, the 1983 Laureate, and the first resident Chinese architect to have the honour bestowed on him.

Pritzker Prize jury chairman, Lord Palumbo, said: “The question of the proper relation of present to past is particularly timely, for the recent process of urbanisation in China invites debate as to whether architecture should be anchored in tradition or should look only toward the future. As with any great architecture, Wang Shu’s work is able to transcend that debate, producing an architecture that is timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal.”

Shu’s completed body of work includes the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University (2000), the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum (2005) and the Ningbo History Museum (2008).

This year’s Laureate was selected by a jury that included Lord Palumbo, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Chinese architect Yung Ho Chang, 2004 Pritzker Laureate Zaha Hadid, 2002 Pritzker Laureate Glenn Murcutt, Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, and Karen Stein, a writer, editor and architectural consultant based in New York.

Shu said of the announcement: “This is really a big surprise. 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 US$100,000 Pritzker Prize, first awarded in 1979, is presented annually to a living architect whose built work demonstrates “a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”

Before receiving the Pritzker Prize at a ceremony in Beijing, Wang Shu will be in Brisbane from 10-12 May to speak at the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Conference, ‘experience’. For more information on the conference, visit

Images (1) Wang Shu, photo by Zhu Chenzhou; (2) & (3) Ningbo History Museum (2008), photo by Lv Hengzhong; (4) Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion, Shanghai Expo (2010), photo by Fu Xing; (5) Ceramic House (2006), Jinhua, photo by Lv Hengzhong

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