Inaugural lecture at the Ecole de Chaillot delivered by Wang Shu


 Text edited and translated by Françoise Ged and Emmanuelle Péchenart. English translation Krystyna Horko. Ouvrage bilingue français-anglais, 128 p., ill. coul., 21 x 17 cm. 978-2-86742-211-9. Site de l’éditeur

Summary, foreword

Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu p. 10
Building a different world in accordance with principles of nature p. 13

Another view

The current state of cities p. 17
Hangzhou p. 18
A lost model p. 24
What about the countryside? p. 25
In China poetry reigned in the towns as well as in the countryside p. 26
Nature and the «natural way» p. 27
A meditative approach p. 29
The width of viewing and thinking p. 30
These paintings are architectural drawings p. 31
The height of viewing and thinking p. 32 Viewing, thinking and wandering p. 33
What to look at and meditate on? p. 34
The time of viewing and thinking p. 38
Painting and contemplation p. 41

The poetics of construction

The Poetics of recycling things p. 44 Teaching inside ruins p. 46
What can we do? p. 47
Grass-roots research p. 52
Tiled Garden, The 11th Venice architecture
Biennale, 2006 p. 54
The Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo, an experimental project p. 56
Teaching and daily practice p. 61

A different utopia Sinuosity

Breathing p. 71
Architecture like the movement of waves p. 78
Two ways of mastering scale p. 80
The Ningbo History Museum p. 82
Acting on changes in the city p. 94
Zhongshan street in Hangzhou recycling time and memory p. 94
Six prerequisite conditions for the renovation of Zhongshan
Street in Hangzhou p. 100
Residents’ smiles p. 105
Finding the natural way again p. 109
Amateur Architecture Studio p. 110
Discussion with the audience

Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu

Wang Shu studied architecture at Nanjing’s Southeast University before going on to do a doctorate at Tongji University, Shanghai, in 2000.

In 1997, he and his wife Lu Wenyu, set up their own agency, Amateur Architecture Studio, in Hangzhou where Wang Shu has also headed the architecture school of the China Academy of Art since 2003.

Their projects have received considerable media attention and been exhibited worldwide (including “Alors, La Chine?” at the Centre Pompidou Paris in 2003, “Positions” in 2008, and “Architecture as a Resistance” at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels in 2009). Since 2003 he has received Chinese and international awards, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2007, the Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Académie d’Architecture, and the Pritzker prizein 2012.

After spending the 1990s on building sites learning traditional skills from artisans, Wang Shu carried out a number of projects, mainly cultural buildings, where he demonstrated a sensitive and poetic approach to traditional construction expertise, while using a highly contemporary architectural style. His works include the:

  • Wenzheng College Library at Suzhou University (2000) with Tong Ming
  • Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum (2005)
  • Five ScatteredHouses project in Ningbo (2006)
  • Tiled Garden at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale (2006)
  • Ceramic House in Jinhua (2007)In addition to using traditional building techniques,

Wang Shu also likes to reinterpret traditional forms and usage in his works to create continuity with the past, something that is often lost in China: high-rise homes (2006) and the renovation of Zhongshan Street in Hangzhou (2009), and the Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion at the Shanghai Universal Exhibition (2010).

Wang Shu’s work reflects his on-going concern about the relationship between buildings, landscape and nature, and he does not reject comparisons with traditional Chinese painters.

The Xiangshan campus at the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou (2004-2007), or the History Museum in Ningbo (2008) come to mind. His current work on the rehabilitation of the Zhoushan harbour and industrial area, to which he has invited the cooperation of other Global Award laureates, demonstrates the detailed attention he pays to sites, their history and former uses, as well as his commitment to the reuse of materials.

Video of the inaugural lesson

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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