Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer sits on another nine-member squad – the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The only non-architect on board, his credentials include overseeing the design and construction of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse and Harbor Park in Boston. The 2012 Pritzker recipient, Wang Shu, is the first architect in China to receive the prize. Citing his Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum, Breyer and company concluded that Shu has the “unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history.” Does that mean he ignores precedent?
In some cases anyway, it’s a history happily elided. The port city of Ningbo (translated “serene waves”) is one of the oldest in China, dating back to 4800 BC. During WWII in 1940, Japan bombed the city with fleas carrying the bubonic plague.