Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio

Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu founded Amateur Architecture Studio in 1997 in Hangzhou, China. The name of the office refers to the approach of an amateur builder—one based on spontaneity, craft skills, and cultural traditions. In order to learn traditional skills, Wang Shu spent the early part of his career working on building sites. Rather than looking toward the West for inspiration, Amateur Architecture Studio’s work is rooted firmly in the context of Chinese history and culture. Today the studio incorporates Wang and Lu’s knowledge of everyday techniques to adapt and transform materials for contemporary projects. The “unique combination of traditional understanding, experimental building tactics, and intensive research” has become fundamental to the office’s architectural projects.

In conjunction with Wang Shu’s 2013 Current Work lecture, an excerpt of which is presented below, Wang and Lu sat down to discuss their practice with New York-based architect Toshiko Mori. In addition to that conversation, this feature also presents an essay and photographs by Lauren Crahan, in which she reflects on her five-week professorship at the China Academy of Art (CAA), a campus designed by Amateur Architecture Studio and where Wang and Lu both teach.

Published: May 6, 2013