Segments in this Video

Wa Shan (02:11)


Chinese architect Wang Shu built a "mountain of tiles" in 2012 in Zhejiang. Over 30 years, 90% of Hongzhou's traditional buildings have been replaced by skyscrapers—reflecting China's upheavals since joining capitalism.

Academy of Art Campus (02:35)

Wang Shu’s experimental approach combines modern and traditional construction methods. He located the visiting faculty house over agricultural homes, but retained popular trees. He believes buildings exist solely in relation to their surrounds, reflecting ancient Chinese scholarship.

Architectural Inspiration (02:32)

Wang Shu's building establishes a dialogue with the mountain and river, typical of Chinese landscape painting, or Shan Shui. He discusses compositional links between life and philosophy. Learn about his concept transposing the Shan Shui principle into architecture.

Wa Shan Layout (02:49)

Wang Shu placed buildings between walls to create a linear complex and pushed service buildings back to create an uneven facade. Covered terraces blur interior and exterior boundaries. He compares the structure to a landscape divided into unique spatial experiences.

Navigating Wa Shan (02:20)

Guest House visitors feel as though they move through a movie set of evolving scenes. Passageways connect social spaces on a zigzag route and a network of bridges and stairways facilitate level changes.

Wa Shan Labyrinth (01:57)

Wang Shu designed a complex passageway network to encourage guests to explore the Academy of Art Guest House.

Ground Pavilion (02:31)

For the hotel reception area, Wang Shu created a space made of screens with uneven openings referencing Chinese scholarly gardens. Concrete is juxtaposed with stone, earth, bamboo, and wood to provide a range of colors and textures.

Cultural Loss (02:15)

Wang Shu juxtaposes modern and traditional construction methods to criticize China's rapid destruction of its architectural heritage—considering it his intellectual duty to take a stance. He uses materials salvaged from demolition sites in a Wa Pan, or “mending,” method.

Wa Shan Engineering (03:14)

Wang Shu uses adobe in contrast to China's adoption of concrete, but stabilizes carrying walls with concrete. Thousands of rafters are assembled to support the roof, requiring replacement within a generation—an idea he interprets as sustainable.

Sustainable Architecture (03:03)

Wang Shu discusses how sustainability offers an alternative way forward. He was inspired by Yunan farm houses to design a roof using reclaimed tiles. His work reflects pre-1920s building designs by philosophers and craftsmen and expresses political and intellectual views.

Credits: Wa Shan” Guest House, A Mountain of Tiles on Elephant Hill: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:30)

Credits: Wa Shan” Guest House, A Mountain of Tiles on Elephant Hill: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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“Wa Shan” Guest House, A Mountain of Tiles on Elephant Hill: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



The China Academy of Art allowed architect Wang Shu (Pritzker Prize, 2012) to work in total freedom. Made up of many elements, the Guest House is much more than just another gesture of today's "star architecture". Built upon the ruins of tradition, it bears the values that anchor it in the future.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL94735

ISBN: 978-1-68272-124-7

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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