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Revival of creativity

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-13 07:12

Revival of creativity

China Academy of Art's Xiangshan campus designed in the fashion of an elegant garden. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

Acclaimed architect Wang Shu completes a decade at the helm of an experimental school. Wang Kaihao reports from Hangzhou.

Over the past decade, Wang Shu has been nurturing Chinese architects, on an idyllic land on the outskirts of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province.

Wang, 54, designed the China Academy of Art's Xiangshan campus in 2007, in the fashion of jiangnan, a term used to describe the scenery along the southern banks of the Yangtze River.

He became the dean of the School of Architecture that opened here that year.

Xu Jiang the academy's director describes Wang's design of campus as an "elegant garden".

Wang echoes that in Chinese tradition, "elegance lies not only in high taste but also in being able to criticize what is vulgar".

As the country's first architecture school inside an art academy, few people knew what was being taught here as architecture used to be seen as part of engineering rather than fine art.

Wang, who is probably the country's best known contemporary architect, says the only "interlude" in the past decade's experiment at Xiangshan was his winning the Pritzker Prize, the world's top architecture award. In 2012, he became the first and is so far the only architect of Chinese nationality to do so despite years of real estate boom in China.

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