May 07, 2009
On the 29th of May, in Buenos Aires, the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is going be awarded with the Pritzker Architectural Award 2009. Although incredibly not very known among architects, mainly outside the circuit Europe/USA, Zumthor is responsible for a consistent career showing great sensibility for human aspects in architecture.
Born in Basel, 1943, he was son of a cabinet-maker and since very early he kept contact with his father’s work. He graduated as an Architect in the Pratt Institute in New York during the 60’s, and acted as a professor in Harvard Graduate School of Design and in the Università della Italian Svizzera, among others schools. Currently, Zumthor keep developing projects in his own studio, established in 1979, in the city of Haldenstein, Switzerland.
For the most curious ones, a small book, Thinking Architecture (Birkhause, 2006), pretty much summarizes in an accessible way the aesthetic and critical thought of the architect. It´s about 90 pages written in a very uncompromised way, where the author stands place on key questions for architecture. This fragment from the text express very much Zumthor’s thought about architecture:
“The design process is based on a Constant interplay of feeling and reason. The feelings, preferences, longings, and desires that emerge and demand to be given a form must be controlled by critical powers of reasoning, but it is our feelings that tell us whether abstract considerations really ring true.”
I believe that the great majority of you are going to agree with me that a building can just be called architecture in fact when exceeds the simple resolution of problems. In Peter Zumthor‘s projects it is impressive how such materials as rock, concrete and glass can be rearranged in order to achieve our feelings and evoke our memory. Perhaps this is an example for us to enrich our contemporary architecture, so much stubborn for the image, by expanding our perception through other kind o sensations as smeling, touching, hearing…
Bruder Claus Chapel
Shelter fro Ruins