94-year-old architect among recipients of 2020 National Award for Arts - Focus Taiwan

94-year-old architect among recipients of 2020 National Award for Arts

Wang Chiu-hwa (photo courtesy of The National Culture and Arts Foundation)
Wang Chiu-hwa (photo courtesy of The National Culture and Arts Foundation)

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) Wang Chiu-hwa (王秋華), born in Beijing in 1925 and a resident in Taiwan since 1979, is one of seven recipients of the National Award for Arts for 2020, and the first woman to win the biennial award for architecture since its inception in 1997.

National Culture and Arts Foundation Chairwoman Lin Mun-lee (林曼麗) made the introduction when announcing the 21st National Award for Arts winners Tuesday.

She praised Wang for designs that emphasize a concern for humanism over aesthetics and craft, and works that feature humanitarian values, respect for nature and manifest a "frank and down-to-earth" architectural aesthetic.

Having designed many acclaimed modern libraries in Taiwan, Wang has been dubbed the "mother of Taiwan library architecture," according to the foundation, which has presented the awards since 1997 as part of its mission to raise the bar for culture and the arts in Taiwan.

"Winning the award is a surprise. It's unexpected, I never thought I would win this award," said Wang when asked by reporters about being named a recipient.

Wang went to the United States from China in 1946 to study architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle, and then studied a Masters of Architecture at Columbia University in New York.

She worked with American architect Percival Goodman in New York from 1953 to 1979, and became a partner in 1975. During that period, she took part in the design of more than 50 synagogues, according to the foundation.

After settling in Taiwan, Wang started her own practice in 1981 and has worked on joint venture with J. J. Pan (潘冀) and Partners, Architects and Planners on a number of projects, including the main library of Chung Yuan Christian University.

The biennial National Award for Arts was established to honor outstanding artists with numerous achievements to their name in the fields of literature, visual arts, music, drama, dance, architecture and cinema.

Other winners of the latest edition of the awards, which will be presented in March 2020, include novelist Huang Chuan (黃娟), 85, whose birth name is Huang Jui-chuan (黃瑞娟) for literature; artist Tsong Pu (莊普), 72, who's birth name is Chuang Kai-hsuan (莊凱旋), in visual arts; and flutist Chen Chung-shen (陳中申), 63, in music.

Theater director Wang Mo-lin (王墨林), 70, won the award in the drama category; dancer Ku Ming-shen (古名伸), 59, for dance; and documentary director Ke Chin-yuan (柯金源), 57, in cinema.

Past award recipients include Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (李安), director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民).

(By Sabine Cheng and Elizabeth Hsu)

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