Wang Shu, a 48-year-old Chinese architect whose work explores the intersection of modern technologies and traditional sensibilities, has won the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize, announced Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize. Wang is the 37th person to win the prize and the first from China. (I.M. Pei, who was born in China but lives and practices in the United States, won in 1983.) Asked about getting the prize, Wang said in a phone interview, "It's a big surprise. I'm still so young!"
Wang and his wife Lu Wenyu founded their firm, Amateur Architecture Studio, in 1997 in Hangzhou, a city that has been famous for hundreds of years as one of China's most beautiful. Although it has grown rapidly in recent years and has new areas that look much like other Chinese boomtowns, Hangzhou still exerts an almost mystical pull on the Chinese imagination as a place where art and tradition thrive. Wang's buildings tap into that reservoir of ancient culture, while employing modern structural systems and elements.