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Peter Zumthor: The Latest Architecture and News

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

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 (2016), 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.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects + 15

Spotlight: Peter Zumthor

The Therme Vals. Image © Fernando Guerra |  FG+SG
The Therme Vals. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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.

Bruder Klaus Field Chapel. Image © Samuel Ludwig Steilneset Memorial. Image © Andrew Meredith Saint Benedict Chapel. Image © Felipe Camus Kunsthaus Bregenz. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/heyitschili/4163419615'>Flickr user heyitschili</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> + 16

Peter Zumthor's Revised LACMA Design for Los Angeles is Approved

Peter Zumthor has gained approval for a paired-back design for the LACMA expansion in Los Angeles. The proposal for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was part of a final environmental impact report submitted for the $650-million project. Undergoing a series of changes over previous years, the latest design will still branch over Wilshire Boulevard with amorphous, sand-colored concrete galleries. The new expansion plan reduces both the expansion's size and footprint.

LACMA Expansion. Image Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners / The Boundary LACMA Expansion. Image Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners / The Boundary LACMA Expansion. Image Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners / The Boundary LACMA Expansion. Image Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners / The Boundary + 9

14 Buildings Shortlisted for RIBA South West Awards

The Royal Institute of British Architects have announced fourteen buildings shortlisted from 48 entries for this year's RIBA South West Awards. The work includes six projects are by new and established practices based in the South West, as well as a series of new and reconfigured houses. All shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a regional jury with the winning buildings announced at an awards ceremony this May.

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).

The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.

a+u 18:01 Feature: Recent Projects

This edition of a+u introduces the 23 recent works of architecture and technology that emerged from their relationship with the urban structure or the development history. In this issue, we focus our attention on the process of conceiving and realizing the projects driven by various motivations and tactics. We invite readers to look beyond the confinement of a single building and examine the works on their possibilities to be in use for a long time.

Cynical Optimism Links the Homes of Alain de Botton's Living Architecture Series

Dune House / JVA. Image © Nils Petter Dale
Dune House / JVA. Image © Nils Petter Dale

Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture project - a joyful, democratically-minded concept to share quality architecture in the UK - was borne out of personal crisis. The Swiss-born philosopher and author gained fame in both popular and architectural circles following the release of his book, "The Architecture of Happiness."

The book was immediately successful (movie buffs may recall its brief cameo in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer), but the response unsettled Botton. “...However pleasing it is two write a book about an issue one feels passionately about," he explained to Assemble Papers, "the truth is that - a few exceptions aside - books don’t change anything. I realized that if I cared so much about architecture, writing was a coward’s way out; the real challenge was to build.”

© Edmund Sumner. ImageBalancing Barn / MVRDV Life House / John Pawson . Image © Gilbert McCarragher A House for Essex / FAT & Grayson Perry. Image © Gilbert McCarragher Secular Retreat / Peter Zumthor. Image Courtesy of Peter Zumthor, Living Architecture + 31

Peter Zumthor's Rammed Concrete Retreat for Living Architecture Nears Completion in England

Living Architecture has published photographs of the Peter Zumthor-designed “Secular Retreat” as it nears completion in Chivelstone, Devon. The retreat will be the Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s first permanent building in the UK.

The dramatic, layered concrete and glass retreat is the seventh commission in the Living Architecture series, “designed by leading artists and architects in distinctive, unique sites across England.

Courtesy of Living Architecture Courtesy of Living Architecture Courtesy of Living Architecture Courtesy of Living Architecture + 9

Life after Serpentine: Second Lives of Architecture's Famed Pavilions

If the surest sign of summer in London is the appearance of a new pavilion in front of the Serpentine Gallery, then it’s perhaps fair to say that summer is over once the pavilion is taken down. The installations have gained prominence since its inaugural edition in 2000, acting as a kind of exclusive honor and indication of talent for those chosen to present; celebrated names from the past names include Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Olafur Eliasson.

Serpentine Pavilion 2015 / Selgas Cano. Image © Iwan Baan Serpentine Pavilion 2014 / Smiljan Radic. Image © Iwan Baan Serpentine Pavilion 2006 / Rem Koolhaas. Image © John Offenbach Serpentine Pavilion 2007 / Olafur Eliasson, Kjetil Thorsen, Cecil Balmond. Image © Luke Hayes + 20

116 Best Architecture Books for Architects and Students

Architecture, while a profession that is very visibly and tangibly realized, has deep wells of research, thought, and theory that are unseen on the surface of a structure. What urges architects to design the way they do? What are their motivations, their affiliations, their interests? For practitioners and students alike, books on architecture offer invaluable context to the profession, be it practical, inspirational, academic, or otherwise. So, for those of you looking to expand your bookshelf (or confirm your own tastes), we have gathered a broad list of 116 architectural books that we consider of interest to those in the field. 

In compiling this list, we sought out titles from different backgrounds with the aim of revealing divergent cultural contexts. From essays to monographs, urban theory to graphic novels, each of the following either engage directly with or flirt on the edges of architecture.

The books on this list were chosen by each of our editors, and are categorized loosely by type. Within their categorization, they are organized alphabetically. Read on to see the books we consider valuable to anyone interested in architecture. 

Peter Zumthor's Kolumba Museum Uses Local Materials to Reframe Historic Experience

Peter Zumthor's quiet, technically pristine, and beautifully detailed work has long been an inspiration for architects. His Kolumba Museum, located in Cologne, Germany, a city that was almost completely destroyed in World War II, houses the Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s collection of art which spans more than a thousand years. Zumthor’s design delicately rises from the ruins of a late-Gothic church, respecting the site’s history and preserving its essence.

© Laurian Ghintiou © Laurian Ghintiou © Laurian Ghintiou © Laurian Ghintiou + 21

Celebrate World Water Day With These 20 Designs That Feature Water Elements

© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG

March 22 is World Water Day, an annual international celebration launched and organized by the United Nations. The goal of the day is to raise awareness about a wide range of water-based issues from around the world. This year’s theme is “Nature From Water”, which invites everyone to think about how nature can provide solutions to the water challenges we face today.

To celebrate World Water Day this year, we’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite projects that utilize water as a central design feature. Whether it be Zumthor's Thermal Vals or Chritso and Jeanne-Claude's Floating Piers, water has been playing an important role in architectural design and in demarcating the boundaries of nature against our built environment.

@ Anders Sune Berd © Felipe Díaz Contardo © Ahmad El Mad © Yao Li + 21

Fantastic Images of Architecture in the Fog: The Best Photos of the Week

Taking photographs in fog can be an experience as chaotic as it is enchanting. Although working with this phenomenon can be risky, since fog dramatically modifies the available light and the atmosphere of a scene, if you know how to take advantage of it, the result can lead to perfect photographs. Below is a selection of 10 images from prominent photographers such as Kevin Scott, Richard Barnes, and Koichi Torimura.

© Fernando Guerra © Ligang Huang © Sophie Mayer © Cornbread Works + 10

Explore Peter Zumthor's 1986 Shelter for Roman Ruins in Quiet Solitude

In 1986, Peter Zumthor completed one of his first projects: a shelter over an Ancient Roman archaeological site in Chur, (Graubünden, Switzerland). Now over three decades old, this film by ArcDog captures the building and the preserved excavations that it sits around with a quiet sophistication. With only timber lamella to allow in light and ventilative air, the project stands as a testament to Zumthor's sensitive architectural approach.

LACMA Reveals New Renderings and Drawings of Zumthor-Led Expansion Project

© Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary
© Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has unveiled new renderings and drawings for their $600 million transformation designed by Atelier Peter Zumthor, as an environmental impact report for the project has been released.

Courtesy of LACMA © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary + 15

LACMA and Lincoln Center Reveal Divergent Plans

Two large-scale US cultural projects have, this week, announced major updates relating to the renovation of existing buildings – and both involve, to a greater and lesser extent, American business magnate, media mogul, and philanthropist David Geffen.

One—the Lincoln Center's Geffen Hall in New York City—has scrapped plans for a $500 million renovation to be led by Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects, while another—Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), for which a renovation is being led by Peter Zumthor—has seen a pledge by Geffen of $150 million toward its $600 million price-tag.

Peter Zumthor's Kolumba Museum Through the Lens of Rasmus Hjortshøj

© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj

In this series of images, photographer Rasmus Hjortshøj has captured the Kolumba Museum by renowned architect Peter Zumthor in Cologne, Germany. The museum, constructed atop the ruins of a Gothic church destroyed during World War II, was a response to a competition that aimed to protect the remains of the Gothic work and create a space to house the art collection of the archbishopric of Cologne. In his winning design, Zumthor fused the existing ruins with modern architecture ideal for religious art in an elegant and minimalist way.

With his photographs, Rasmus Hjortshøj offers a tour of Zumthor's design, portraying the building within its urban context, while examining the architect's dedication to detail.

© Rasmus Hjortshøj © Rasmus Hjortshøj © Rasmus Hjortshøj © Rasmus Hjortshøj + 29

10 Hard-To-Reach Masterpieces And How To Get There

Visiting architectural masterpieces by the greats can often feel like a pilgrimage of sorts, especially when they are far away and hard to find. Not everyone takes the time to visit these buildings when traveling, which makes getting there all the more special. With weird opening hours, hard-to-reach locations and elusive tours we thought we’d show a selection from our archives of masterpieces (modernist to contemporary) and what it takes to make it through their doors. Don’t forget your camera!