This morning the 2012 Pritzker Prize—architecture's equivalent of the Nobel, with past winners ranging from Frank Gehry to Renzo Piano—was awarded to Wang Shu, the first Chinese architect to win the honor. Shu, who spent much of his early years renovating old building, serves as head of the Architecture Department at the China Academy of Art, and, as today's Chicago Tribune puts it, "deftly melds tradition and modernity, often by reusing bricks and tiles from demolished buildings in such bold new designs as a history museum in the Chinese city of Ningbo." Some notable projects include the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University (designed half underground out of respect for Suzhou gardening traditions) and the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art. "The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals," said Thomas J. Pritzker in a statement. "In addition, over the coming decades, China's success at urbanization will be important to China and to the world." Along with his wife, Lu Wenyu, Shu founded and now operates Amateur Architecture Studio out of Hangzhou—perhaps a firm name change is in order? Anyway, view some of his works above.