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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wang Shu Wins The 2012 Pritzker Prize

image © zhu chenzhou

wang shu, chinese architect of the hangzhou-based practice amateur design studio has been announced as the 2012 laureate of 
the pritzker architecture prize, receiving the most prestigious award to be given in the field of architecture. he will be the first recipient to originate from china and will have the honor of accepting the bronze medallion in beijing, the city which has been 
recently unveiled as the host of this year's award ceremony. 

revealed by the chairman of the hyatt foundation and sponsor of the prize, thomas j. pritzker stated the following about the jury's selection:

'the fact that an architect from china has been selected by the jury, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that china
will play in the development of architectural ideals. in addition, over the coming decades china’s success at urbanization will be
important to china and to the world. this urbanization, like urbanization around the world, needs to be in harmony with local needs and culture.
china’s unprecedented opportunities for urban planning and design will want to be in harmony with both its long and unique traditions of the past and with its future needs for sustainable development.'

'there are significant questions about the recent process of urbanization in china, whether it should be anchored in tradition or if it should j ust look toward the future. as in 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
.' said alejandro aravena, one of the pritzker jurors. 

'my starting point is always the site, I need to understand about the life, the people, the weather. (...) I know something existed before me -
my buildings come from somewhere
' wang shu says, 'other architects talk about space. I talk about typology and prototype. the prototype relates to memory.'
he and his wife named their firm amateur architecture studio -- 'amateur' as someone who engages in an activity for pleasure rather than profit --
'for myself, being an artisan or a craftsman is an amateur or almost the same thing.'

the architect graduated from the nanjing institute of technology in 1985 and followed with his graduate degree from the same program.
his completed works include the 'ningbo contemporary art museum' and 'ningbo history museum' both located in ningbo, china
along with the 'xiangshan campus of the china academy of art' in hangzhou, china. temporary works include a pavilion for both the 2010 and 2006 venice architecture biennales.
other awards include the french gold medal from the academy of architecture in 2011 and german shelling architecture prize in 2010
which was jointly given to lu wenyu, his wife and co-founder of their practice.

'decay of a dome' at the venice architecture biennale 2010

minimally impacting the environment by resting upon the ground, the lightweight structure was intended to be easily assembled and dismantled

'ultra-light village' on display in shenzhen's civic square at the 2011 shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of architecture \ urbanism
see designboom's initial coverage of the pavilion here

entry to the pavilion

pavilion at night

model of 'squarely sphering' on display at 'verso est', a survey of contemporary chinese architecture curated by fang zhenning, exhibition at the MAXXI museum of 21st century in rome, italy

model of 'squarely sphering' on display at 'verso est', a survey of contemporary chinese architecture curated by fang zhenning, exhibition at the MAXXI museum of 21st century in rome, italy

Urbanus: Nanshan Marriage Registration Center

'nanshan marriage registration center' by urbanus in shenzhen, china
all images courtesy urbanus
images by mengyan, wu qiwei

chinese architecture practice urbanus has sent us images of 'nanshan marriage registration center',
a multi-storey facility in the northeastern corner of lijing park in nanshan district, shenzhen, china. 
seeking to provide a new identity for government buildings and institutes within the realm of
built architecture, the design incorporates a reflecting pool and pavilion in the approach to secure 
a sense of public space to the registration facility. 

overall view

surrounded by a dense collection of tall deciduous trees, the cylindrical building comfortably inserts itself
into the park in a way that respects and maintains the lushness of the site. the reflecting pool to the south
creates a calm and fragile surface to the grounds, serving as an inviting meeting point for the public.
a series of ramps and floating pathways dissect the water, allowing visitors to move through and experience 
the pool. a simple pavilion structure oriented towards the center frame the approach like a small gateway. 


outfitted with a shimmering floral mesh aluminum skin, the center exhibits a level of transparency from
the exterior. the interior gains from natural daylighting through floor-to-ceiling glass and is further 
maximized by the curved nature of the walls. focusing on the movement and circulation of the building, 
the layout revolves around a spiral pathway that connects facets of the registry in a sequential manner. 
areas give way to smaller rooms and private space in a fluid gesture, forming curvilinear partitions that
organically define the layout. 

floating pathway across pool


view of reflecting pool 

towards pavilion

pavilion as a meeting point

view of center from pavilion


view of ramp from above
interior view

filtered sunlight

glazed wall and aluminum mesh skin

waiting area in use

marriage certificate room

(left) spiral staircase
(right) ceiling

small room

circulation space

night view

physical model


circulation diagram
(1) pavilion
(2) pathway
(3) reception
(4) stairs
(5) waiting area
(6) marriage certificate room
(7) ramp

site map

site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level +1

floor plan / level +2



project info:

client: construction bureau of nanshan district
site area: 3002.5 m2
floor area: 977.5 m2
structure: steel 

design director: meng yan
project director: zhu jialin, wu wenyi, zhang zhen, fu zhuoheng, wei zhijiao
architecture designers: wang jun, yin yujun, hu zhigao, li qiang, zhang xinfeng
landscape designers: liao zhixiong, lin ting, yu xiaolan, liu jie

interior design: guoqun studio
curtain wall design: henzhen keyuan construction group co., ltd
structure / MEP: guangzhou RBS architecture engineer design associates
general contractor: shenzhen decoration and construction industrial co., ltd,
guangdong 8th construction group co., ltd

Blue Forest: eco-perch

'eco-perch' by blue forest
all images courtesy of 
blue forest

the 'eco-perch' is a quick to install luxury tree house unit by east sussex-based architecture and construction firm blue forest.
assembled with natural materials, the structure may be implemented within 5 days, minimally impacting the landscape with 
adequate site preparation beforehand. contained within a 6 meter by 8 meter footprint, the combined kitchen, dining, 
living area and bedroom may comfortably accommodate four people. wrapped with a continuous roof surface, 
its oval sectional geometry visually connects with the outdoor scenery through windows and a veranda formed with a deep eave.

if placed beyond your personal garden, owners may acquire planning permissions to install the small dwelling which is expected 
to outlive 15 years. linking to existing infrastructure is ideal although an on-site septic tank may be used. a variety of off-grid 
and renewable energy sources allow for complete independence. the interior may be redesigned and retrofitted to serve as 
an office, studio or classroom.


kitchen and living area

dining area and bedroom

elevated and constructed around a mature tree


floor plan / level 0