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Wang Shu Interview: Architecture is a Job for God

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Interview of Wang Shu during his exhibition ‘The Architect’s Studio: Wang Shu‘ in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him the prestigious Pritzker Prize. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

”Architecture is not just an object that you place in the environment,” Wang Shu explains.” Your experience of the architecture starts far away from the building. Architecture is not only the house in itself; it also includes a big area around it. All of this is architecture.” Shu does not take his responsibility as an architect lightly. Architecture can ”change the life of people and give them a new one right away. This is not a job for normal people to do. This should be the work of God.”

His studio, Amateur Architecture Studio, co-founded together with Shu’s wife Lu Wenyu, focuses on architecture that fosters community and works from the bottom up. ”We think that a society that is good for people to live in starts from the ground. Real culture starts from the ground,” says Wang Shu, and recounts his favourite project: designing a public toilet and wash-room for a rural Chinese village which became a local gathering spot for all of the villagers.

In the end Shu challenges the common understanding of Western democracy versus Chinese dictatorship. Modern societies have strong centralizing forces that level out differences, he states. In this light, Wang Shu argues, securing variety and local diversity within society is the real challenge, in China as well as the Western world.

Chinese Wang Shu (b. 1963) is considered one of the most important architects of our time. Together with his wife Lu Wenyu he runs the Amateur Architecture Studio. The studio is known for breaking architectural boundaries by weaving together ancient Chinese building tradition and an almost hypermodern formal language. He is the dean of the School of Architecture of the China Academy of Art and has received multiple awards, among others the 2012 Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Wang Shu was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in March 2017.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017.

Supported by Dreyers Fond

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a leading international museum of modern art. Located on the coast it strikes that rarest of balances between landscape, architecture, and art in a unique interaction that attracts visitors from around the world and makes a visit to Louisiana something special throughout the year.

The museum, which is located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, with a panoramic view of Sweden across the Sound, presents six to ten special exhibitions annually and has a distinguished art collection with over 3,500 works. Louisiana is also a vibrant cultural centre open in the evening Tuesday to Friday until 22:00 and offers a rich variety of activities and events.

https://www.louisiana.dk

 

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