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Dec '10 - Aug '12

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    "justyou&me" interview series#3:wang shu-2012 pritzker prize winner

    Deli Zhao
    Feb 27, '12 2:19 PM EST

    during uia tokyo,i interviewed wang shu as the 3rd part of my "just you & me" interview series that aims to particularly asking the questions and arguing about issues and confusions in contemporary china's built environment.

    we had a very long talk(more than one hour) on chinese cultural identity and design,china politics and design and also Lao-tzu's philosophy.

    actually after 10 years(1966-1976)' cultural revolution of china led by chairman mao,a mega rupture was generated between what was china before and what it should be after. that was the 2nd time in chinese history while the 1st one was in qin dynasty led by emperor qin shi huang who built the great wall.the country machine tried to apply those very straightforward or saying simple way to manage people and their minds for "harmony" as they called.what did people think at that time?did they think about design or architecture?i don't think so.they were perhaps just reading the quotations from chairman mao and brainwashed.people who had experienced that told me that it was not a good time in chinese history.what was happening at the same time outside china in terms of architecture?in 1970s,several architects in us competed to build the tallest building,when was also the time architects brought experimentation in pop-art, post-modernism and early de-constructivism.well,huge difference,isn't it?things changed since deng xiaoping became the new leader of china after chairman mao's 1980s he implemented the reform and opening-up policy that is still going on now(i remembered that in my middle school politics textbook said sth like:if there are no enemies attack china,it ll keep developing economic for 100 years as the core;it sounds like a promise from lover),which resulted what china looks like right now where building are insanely constructed.well maybe it is something china has to go through just as developed countries have professor yusuke also said that several most of architecture firms in china right now are really product lines.thousands of square meters complex project's design can be done in several days by several people.they even have developed the template for design meaning one project can be changed for another if they are the same typology.btw,construction quality for normal project(different from national project)is poor it is kind of the fashion right now in china's built environment that is fast and fast and fast maybe.another one is build for politics that means local government could look for star architects to promote,it might be a good start when wang shu was named as the winner of the 2012 pritzker prize,for china's built environment and architecture industry.because he was constantly fighting with the booming of low quality buildings in chinese cities that are just for making money,particularly with those horrible housing projects-concrete jungle.his winning represents lots of designers and architects who are working on designing a better china than what it is going on now.then i have to say it is a long journey for wang shu to get this prize due to his country is in a journey too.

    anyway,let's get back to the interview,i asked him 3 questions at last of our talk:

    *note:contents from wang shu interview below is translated from chinese notes i took.

    1.about material

    me:how do you consider the role of material in your project?

    wang shu:do you know the japanese word:“物语”?it means that object can talk literally. architectural material in my works has life,just as human can talk and architect,my job is trying to find out its particular way(material performance) to talk with its environment.

    2.about architect charm

    me:what is the core of your architecture?

    wang shu:chinese culture.

    3.about education(because i wanna be a teacher in the future)

    me:what are the problems & opportunities within chinese architectural education system?

    wang shu:in chinese education of architecture,there exists only idea but no thinking.

    pic 1:wang shu's signature and one page of my notes from interview.

    pic 2:wang shu during the interview

    pic 3:me & wang shu & his new project sketch





    • Christopher Sjoberg

      Hell yeah!

      Feb 27, 12 10:07 pm  · 

      Yeah yeah yeah!

      Feb 29, 12 2:59 am  · 

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