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.
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.
A group of five high-profile jurors, lead by Louisa Hutton of Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton, have issued a statement through the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) denying any support of Morphosis’ appointment to design the 7132 Hotel in Vals, Switzerland. According to reports, the jury had “significant question marks” regarding the chosen design, ultimately leading to the high-profile competition’s termination when the jury failed to recommend a winner. This seems to be a result of the client and jury’s inability to find common ground.
Peter Zumthor and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) have revealed a revised design for the museum's $650 million new home on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The new design still features the sinuous glass and grey concrete slab raised a full story off the ground, but under the new proposal part of the museum would bridge Wilshire Boulevard to touch down on what is currently a car park opposite.
The change comes in response to criticisms that the previous design would put the neighboring La Brea Tar Pits at risk, threatening their status as an active paleontological research site and a popular tourist destination. The shape of the new design removes this risk by withdrawing from the boundary with the adjacent tar pits, without compromising on floor space in the museum.
More on the revised design after the break
Peter Zumthor has chosen to mentor Paraguayan architect Gloria Cabral as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Cabral, a partner at Asuncion-based Gabinete de Arquitectura, will spend a year collaborating with the Swiss architect, who has dedicated his expertise in an effort to learn, create and grow with the young talent.
Describing Cabral’s work to reveal an original spirit, Zumthor stated: “In Gloria’s work and attitude I sense a keen interest in the physical experience of architecture, which makes it exciting for me to collaborate with her.”
In OASE's 91st edition, Building Atmospheres, the elusive craft of creating, capturing and understanding 'atmosphere' in architecture is explored in a carefully chosen collection of themed essays by Peter Zumthor, Juhani Pallasmaa and philosopher Gernot Böhme. Zumthor, famous for his 1996 text Atmospheres, identifies and discusses "a series of themes that play a role in his work in achieving architectonic atmosphere". Alongside this, the OASE team have visited his studio and interviewed him about the current relevance of his writing and how he captures 'atmosphere' in his design process.
To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we've rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: wood. Check out the projects after the break...
Known for his superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship, the 2009 Pritzker Laureate and 2013 RIBA Gold Medal Award winner, Peter Zumthor, was recently invited to speak at the School of Architecture in Tel Aviv University. In a lecture titled “Presence in Architecture - Seven Personal Observations,” Zumthor shared some of the inspirations behind his greatest projects, giving us insight into his poetic, intelligent, (and some might say) “nearly divine” mind.
Zumthor’s Seven Points on “Presence,” after the break...
Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has been selected as the next architecture mentor for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He will be the second architect to participate in the program, following Kazuyo Sejima’s inauguration in 2012. After choosing a protégé early in 2014, Zumthor will spend a year offering his expertise to support, guide, and collaborate with the young talent.
Expressing his desire to learn from the mentorship, Peter Zumthor stated: “I agreed to be a mentor because I believe in the professional exchange of people of different backgrounds, talents, skills and age. I highly appreciate the fact that Rolex offers funding for this professional artistic exchange and research outside of everyday economics.”
In an article for Vanity Fair Paul Goldberger unravels the Swiss Mystique surrounding Peter Zumthor's personality and work, describing him as a "cross between Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Proust, with perhaps a tiny bit of Bob Dylan thrown in." With completed projects few and far between, but executed with intense experiential thought and craftsmanship, the article explores how Zumthor's motives has informed his rigorous attitude to architecture. Having recently been awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, the "cult following" that Goldberger described in 2001 seems to only be getting stronger. You can read the full article here.
Our friend and architectural photographer Felipe Camus recently embarked on an architectural pilgrimage to the valley of the Rhein. Located in the Graubünden region in Switzerland, the valley boasts many of the seminal works of Pritzker Prize Laureate Peter Zumthor, all within a 60-kilometer radius. Born in Graubünden himself, Zumthor designed the works in relation to their location and time by paying special attention to details and materials. As a result, the works all present Zumthor’s unparalleled skills of craftsmanship and his uncompromising integrity.
Join us for a special AD Architectural Mountain Guide, including a detailed map, photos and descriptions of Zumthor’s works, after the break….
Coming at a crucial time in which Los Angeles is at risk of “losing its reputation as a center for innovative architecture,” museum director Michael Govan and Swiss architect Peter Zumthor have unveiled preliminary plans for what they hope will be the new home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). If approved, this $650 million proposal - nearly five years in the making - would replace the dated William Pereira-designed campus and its 1986 Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates-designed addition with an organically-shaped, dark-grey concrete and glass Zumthor original.
More information after the break, including Peter Zumthor’s project description...
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will soon be rolling out the red carpet to welcome Swiss legend Peter Zumthor to the Golden State. The prized architect’s debut will mark the opening of "The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA," which will unveil the ambitious, $650 million plan to transform the LACMA’s “Byzantine maze of buildings and hallways” into an experience-based “village” of curvaceous modern glass structures that will produce more energy than it uses.
"The idea is to make it permeable by people," LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan says, who has been working with Zumthor for over four years on the proposal.