Wang Shu: The Globally Acclaimed Chinese Architect with Bert de Muynck

Wang Shu: The Globally Acclaimed Chinese Architect with Bert de Muynck


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This Conversation will discuss the life and stylings of Chinese architect Wang Shu, the head of the Department of Architecture of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China's most acclaimed art and architectural institute. Presenting to China and the world since the early 2000s' an intriguing mix of traditional and contemporary spatial concepts, his architecture is characterized by a focus on the exploration of regional identity, re-use of salvaged building materials, and incorporation of cultural and spatial references such as Chinese landscape design, courtyard design, or the notion of the 'big roof' which transcends time and space.

His bold, unique, and personal architectural style both critiques contemporary cultural and bland urban developments in China, as well as set out a new path for architectural development taking inspiration from history and context. Drawing from first-hand experiences of visiting the buildings, and in-person conversations with the architect throughout the past 15 years, Bert de Muynck introduces and gives context to this architects' unique approach to architecture in China, exemplary in the project for the Venice Architecture Biennale (2006), the campus of China Academy of Art (2005-08), reconstruction of Hanghzou's inner-city and his projects for the development of China's small rural villages.

Led by an expert on contemporary architectural development in China, Bert de Muynck, this interactive seminar will explore the work and ideas behind the architecture of the 2012 Pritzker Prize winner Wang Shu. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of China's contemporary architecture through the eyes and works of Hangzhou-based architect Wang Shu.

Bert is an architect and writer and holds MAs in architectural engineering (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium) and cultural sciences (Free University Brussels). Born in Belgium, in the past decade he has lived and worked in architectural consultancy, writing, and academia in Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, and now Lisbon, where he relocated in 2018. He is the co-director of "MovingCities", an independent research organization investigating the role that architecture and urbanism play in shaping the contemporary city. Bert lived in China from 2006 to 2018, where he held academic positions at The University of Hong Kong (2011-14), China Academy of Art (2013-16), and Xian Liverpool University (2015-18). He has been a Context expert since 2013 (Shanghai and Lisbon) focusing on architectural and urban history and development. He is a prolific writer and public speaker in the field of architecture, urbanism, and culture.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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