Dialogue With Water

Dialogue With Water

Wang Shu (China Academy of Art, winner of the Pritzker Prize)
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 / 4:00 PM
MultiCultural Center Theater

Wang Shu writes: “My architectural designs always come from some kind of memory, memories that are related to some place, an event that sparked some kind of feeling, or a visual impression of some happening or object. When I consider these things retrospectively, these stimuli always have something to do with water. This is hardly strange, because where I live water is a natural element and is everywhere. Architecturally speaking, in my work particular climatic considerations, ambience, application of materials, and aesthetics, are all determined by water.

And yet water is elusive. I can say that my designs begin with memory, yet it is more accurate to say they begin with imagination. This is because those things that are remembered are constantly shifting and changing in the thinking process. Thus, my designs are drawn from memories, but it is more accurate to say these are things precisely of the moment.

Unfortunately, clearly today people’s sensibility toward water is receding. Thus, I often tell people I was born in the seventeenth century.”

Wang Shu is the Dean of the School of Architecture of the China Academy of Art. In 2012, he became the first Chinese citizen to win the Pritzker Prize, the world’s top prize in architecture.

Sponsored by the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, and the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.