The Simpson Lecture 2016/ 2017: Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu

  • Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:00 to 20:00

  • Edinburgh College of Art Main Building, Main Lecture Theatre (E22)
    74 Lauriston Place
    EH3 9DF

We are delighted to announce Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu as the 2016/2017 George Simpson Visiting Professors.

Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu - who founded Amateur Architecture Studio in 1997 in Hangzhou China - will give a free public lecture at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) entitled Architecture with Hands.

Their work is characterised by its rich sensitivity to cultural tradition and experience, and informed by a deep appreciation of materials and construction.

For Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu the term "amateur" has a critical value.  Opposed to the rigidity and authority of the "professional", it signals improvisation, contingency, modesty, and the non-official.

As Wang Shu has written:

"I design a house instead of a building. The house is the amateur architecture approach to the infinitely spontaneous order.  Built spontaneously, illegally and temporarily, amateur architecture is equal to professional architecture. But amateur architecture is just not significant.

One problem of professional architecture is, that it thinks too much of a building. A house, which is close to our simple and trivial life, is more fundamental than architecture. Before becoming an architect, I was only a literati. Architecture is part-time work to me. For one place, humanity is more important than architecture while simple handicraft is more important than technology.

The attitude of amateur architecture – though first of all being an attitude towards a critical experimental building process – can have more entire and fundamental meaning than professional architecture. For me, any building activity without comprehensive thoughtfulness will be insignificant."

Amateur Architecture Studio have been the recipient of many prizes, including the award of the Pritzker Prize to Wang Shu in 2012.

About George Simpson Visiting Professors

The George Simpson Visiting Professor is a position open to distinguished international architectural practitioners and thinkers.

Previous office holders include Inaki Abalos, Barry Bergdoll, Alexander Brodsky, Michael B. Cadwell, William Curtis, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Andrea Kahn, Diane Lewis, Daniel Libeskind, Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Joseph Rykwert, Peter Wilson, and Anthony Vidler.

The post facilitates engagement with teaching and research at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) at ECA. 

While in Edinburgh, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu will also be reviewing work by undergraduate and postgraduate students across five studios, and participating in an In Conversation event on Thursday 16th February.

See Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu’s full George Simpson Visiting Professor schedule (opens as a pdf)