Known for his sensuous materiality and attention to place, 2009 Pritzker Laureate Peter Zumthor (born April 26, 1943) is one the most revered architects of the 21st century. Shooting to fame on the back of The Therme Vals and Kunsthaus Bregenz, completed just a year apart in 1996 and 1997, his work privileges the experiential qualities of individual buildings over the technological, cultural and theoretical focus often favored by his contemporaries.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has released the newest renderings of their planned Atelier Peter Zumthor-led $600 million renovation, and one thing in particular stands out: the building is no longer black.
While the third major revision to the design sees the building retain the overall shape of its previous iteration, many aspects have changed, including how the floating mass touches the ground and the facade’s new sandy color.
In one of his 1922 travel essays for the Toronto Star Ernest Hemingway wrote, in a typically thewy tone, of “a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways and all stuck over with large brown hotels built [in] the cuckoo style of architecture.” This was his Switzerland: a country cornered in the heartland of Europe and yet distant from so much of its history. A nation which, for better or worse and particularly over the course of the 20th Century, has cultivated and become subject to a singularly one-dimensional reputation when it comes to architectural culture and the built environment.
Four top architects – Thom Mayne (Morphosis), Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor – have been tapped to contribute designs for the new “House of Architects” at the 7132 Hotel in Vals Switzerland. The latest addition to the hotel, The House of Architects features a lobby and entrance also designed by Morphosis Architects, and 7 room designs centered around a single material.
A Capsule of "Almost-Forgotten History": Surface Magazine Visits Peter Zumthor's Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum
Below is an excerpt of the cover story of this month’s Surface magazine: an in-depth look at Peter Zumthor’s recently completed Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, featuring exclusive quotes from the architect himself.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the new Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum outside Sauda, Norway, is that it looks nothing like a museum—or at least, what we think of as a museum. On a steep site framed by elegantly rugged walls of dry stone, three black, shed-like and zinc-roofed structures look far too small to house exhibits, much less hordes of visitors. But this isn’t a museum in the conventional sense. Consisting of a service building with restrooms, a café, and a gallery—all perched on tall timber supports—it’s more a memorial to those who toiled in the zinc mine that operated on the site from 1881 to 1899 in the spectacularly beautiful Allmannajuvet Ravine. The mine and its accompanying trail were long ago abandoned, the original buildings a distant memory.
After previously documenting the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, photographer Aldo Amoretti once again captures the grounded simplicity of Peter Zumthor, this time with images of his Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum in Sauda, Norway. The three-building campus calls upon the aesthetics of the country's abandoned zinc mines from the 1800s, evoking the toilsome labor of the workers in its rough stone and exposed joint work. The museum is situated on one of Norway's National Tourist Routes and was commissioned by the state as part of an effort to increase tourism in the region. As such, the buildings are poised in and above the landscape, providing views of the natural gorge that unfold as visitors move through Zumthor's dark, shaftlike interiors.
Amoretti's photos express the modesty of the project, from the blackness of the interior galleries to the thin stilts that support the buildings within their rocky surroundings. The museum structures are suspended in balance with the harsh, gray climate—a noble representation of the working conditions of the miners the project aims to memorialize.
The Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor, completed in 2007, is known for its beautiful respect for the materials which were used to construct the sensuous space. The interior of the chapel is a black cavity left behind by 112 tree trunks burnt out of the cast concrete walls. Twenty-four layers of concrete were poured into a frame surrounding the trunks, stacked in a curved conical form, forming a stark contrast to the comparatively smooth angular façade. After removing the frame, many small holes were left behind in the walls, creating an effect reminiscent of the night sky. The chapel’s "beautiful silence" and undeniable connection to its surrounding landscape make it an evocative and popular destination for many.
In this photo series, architecture photographer Aldo Amoretti captures the dramatic relationship between the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel and its natural environment. Despite its concrete surface and straight edges, the chapel doesn’t stand out as brutal. Instead, the images depict a visual manifestation of Zumthor’s words: architecture with "composure, self-evidence, durability, presence, and integrity, and with warmth and sensuousness as well."
The office of Peter Zumthor has been selected to design an expansion to the Beyeler Foundation, located just outside Zumthor’s childhood home of Basel, Switzerland. The Swiss architect was chosen from a prestigious shortlist of 11 firms to add to the existing museum building, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and completed in 1997.
“The sky above Basel, the city and its surroundings–those are the landscapes of my youth,” said Zumthor. “It is heart-warming to be able to design a major building here.”
At the 2016 Venice Biennale, Peter Zumthor has put his designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on display for the professional community. Inside the Arsenale building, a model of the tar-pit-inspired building has been suspended to float within a curving display of textile artworks by Christina Kim, while a soundtrack by Walter De Maria – “Ocean Music,” written in 1968 – provides a rhythmic backdrop for the installation.
Continue for more on the exhibit, featuring images by photographer Danica O. Kus.
For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.
With their Manual of Section, the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.
The office of Peter Zumthor has released new renderings of their design for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s $600 million new home on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The images provide the first look into the museum interior and gallery spaces, and present the museum in its nearly-finalized design. From this point, Zumthor has stated, "it is only going to be small alterations."
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has announced two gifts totaling $75 million dollars, bringing the museum’s Peter Zumthor designed campus overhaul one step closer to reality, reports the Los Angeles Times. Elaine Wynn, one of the world’s top art collectors, has pledged $50 million dollars, and former Univision chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio has promised $25 million, bringing the total funds raised and approved to $275 million, just shy of halfway to the $600 million required for the project.
Doing architecture is listening. - Norman Foster
Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Diébédo Francis Kéré and three other great architects come together in this Louisiana Channel video to share their thoughts on how to design for different cultures. For most of them, understanding context, collaborating with locals and using architecture to address larger social issues are what makes global architecture a success.
In May last year, the Rolex Mentors & Protégés initiative announced a surprising partnership in its name: Paraguayan architect Gloria Gabral was to spend a year working alongside the famously elusive Swiss master Peter Zumthor. The differences between the two architects - from the languages they spoke to the age of their respective careers - were obvious from the outset. But as explored in this article by Paul Clemence, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Intuitive Connection," over the past year they've been discovering that the things that they have in common run far deeper.
It was an unlikely pair. He is a well-established architect with a long career, working out of a small town tucked deep in the mountainous Graubünden canton in Switzerland; she is at the beginning of a promising career in Asunción, Paraguay’s capital and largest city. They did not even share a common language, yet they connected through something more binding than the spoken word: an intuitive sense of space—and their work ethic.
The Louisiana Channel recently made a trip to the hometown of Peter Zumthor for an extensive and rare video interview on the Swiss architect's life journey, passion for learning, and how "different kinds of silence" help him reach his potential.
In the mid-1980s, after literature had long been held hostage by postmodernist irony and cynicism, a new wave of authors called for an end to negativity, promoting a "new sincerity" for fiction. Gaining momentum into the 1990s, the movement reached a pinnacle in 1993 when, in his essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, pop-culture seer David Foster Wallace, a proponent of this "new sincerity," made the following call to action: “The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.'"
Architecture, ever in debt to the styles and ideas of other art forms, could learn a thing or two now from the resuscitation of American fiction at the turn of the millennium. It too is enduring an identity crisis, mired by pessimism and uncertainty - a reality made painfully clear this past January when a New York Times Op-Ed by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, How to Rebuild Architecture, divided camps and made the design world fume. In the editorial, the authors spoke vehemently of an architectural profession that has become mired by egos and been disconnected from public needs. Things quickly got ugly, critics wrestled with critics and subsequently the public got involved. What no one seemed to take into account is that this type of hounding is at the core of the problem. In its current landscape the discipline has struggled with its past, been deferential to its present, and wrestled with the uncertainty of its future. In a moment when we have become addicted to despondency, can anyone win?
AMERICAnodelsud is an organization committed to social equality, promoting investigations and the development of new knowledge within the field of architecture. One of their main objectives is to raise funds to sponsor projects that will bridge the social exclusion gap.
Architects Alejandro Aravena (Santiago, Chile), Solano Benitez (Asuncion, Paraguay), Angelo Bucci (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Rafael Iglesia (Rosario, Argentina), José María Saez (Quito, Ecuador) and Ricardo Sargiotti (Córdoba, Argentina) held the first convention in 2013. Through the 'america[no] del sur' tour, which consisted of three conferences held in different cities in Argentina, they sought to raise the necessary funding.
On April 15th and 17th, Asunción, Paraguay will host the upcoming fundraiser, which Peter Zumthor and Paulo Mendes da Rocha have already agreed to attend in order to support the cause. Without a doubt, the presence of these two internationally-renowned architects will greatly help raise the funds needed by AMERICAnodelsud to follow through with their commitment.
Read AMERICAnodelsud's charter for this year's edition, written by Solano Benitez, below.