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Chinese architect Zhang Ke wins 2017 Alvar Aalto Medal

2017-09-13 09:58:24 CGTN

Finland's Alvar Aalto Foundation announced that Chinese architect Zhang Ke had won the 2017 Alvar Aalto Medal, one of the most prestigious architecture prizes in the world.

The medal was joint issued by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Architectural Society, the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA and the City of Helsinki.

This year's prize was only the 13th time the award has been given and it took place at a jubilee seminar to mark its 50th anniversary. This year, the focus of the event was on promising young architects.

The foundation said, "Zhang Ke prefers to use local building materials and techniques, and he favors recycling over demolishing." The medalist impressed the jury with his sustainable architecture.

The jury praised Zhang's work, as he uses historic references in an attempt to preserve traditions. "By combining landscape elements in his work, Zhang Ke is able to subtly fit his architecture into the surrounding terrain, creating harmonious relationships between landscape and architecture," said the foundation.

The jury emphasized that, in a time of political unrest worldwide, the medal should be dedicated to humanism in architecture.

Zhang told Xinhua that he was very proud to be the first Chinese to win the prize, as the award is only given every few years and, with the exception of 2015, only ever to one person at a time.

He believed the award was an encouragement development for the whole of Chinese architecture. "China is witnessing a culture revival, and what is needed the most is the respect of history and the urban environment."

Born in 1970, Zhang Ke graduated from Qinghua University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is the founder of ZAO/standardarchitecture, which is one of the leading design firms in China and is a guest professor at Harvard University.

Since 2006, Zhang Ke has won several domestic and international architectural design prizes. His design works have been exhibited at international architectural events in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria, among other countries.

The Alvar Aalto Medal has been awarded intermittently since 1967, and it was set in honor of Alvar Aalto, the most famous architect in Finland and a representative of the Nordic style. The award is conferred to individuals and firms internationally in recognition of a significant contribution to creative architecture.

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