Architect Wang Shu On Culture and Sustainable Cities

Chinese architect Wang Shu has seen his share of expansion in his home country. While China’s urban landscape has been changing,  rapidly rising with skyscrapers made of chrome and glass, Shu has instead turned to his culture’s ancient and venerable traditions for inspiration, creating award-winning architecture of true originality.

As the winner of the prestigious 2012 Pritzker Prize for Architecture, and voted Wall Street Journal’s ‘Innovator of the Year’, Shu is far more traditional than you might expect. Though he explains how the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy serves as inspiration for some of the traditional architecture found in China, he’s not afraid to speak out about his disdain for the modern “shiny” architecture that’s now prolific in the country, saying that the craftmanship of the past puts modern architecture to shame, rendering it simplistic and “easy”.

The goal with his work is to blend the traditional attributes of craftsmanship with modern design to create a new form of harmony. In order to do this, and to retain an element of history, Shu seeks out materials which have been discarded in favor of new construction, looking more towards natural, sustainable materials such as wood to create his futuristic vision. One of his recent works in which modern and traditional happily co-exist is Five Scattered Houses (pictured left).

To hear more about Shu’s vision for future cities, his love for originality and cultural values watch the video above.


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