After thirty years of of incredible work that pushes forward the bounds of architecture, Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor was recently awarded the 2009 Pritzker Prize, the world’s highest honor for architecture. The award celebrates the architect’s commitment and devotion to each client’s programme, distinguished and timeless talent, respect for the site, and sculptural use of materials.
Peter Zumthor is an architect’s architect, admired by his peers for his outstanding body of work mostly focused in Switzerland and Germany. His best known is a thermal spa in the Hotel Therme located in Vals, although he has also been recognized for his other works: St. Benedict Chapel, the Swiss Pavilion, and the Kunsthaus Bregenz Art Museum. Most recently he has completed the Kolumba Art Museum and the Memorial Site to the Burning of Witches in Norway.
Zumthor’s office in Hadelstein houses a small practice of 20, which ensures that he maintains control over his projects. All of his work celebrate the inherent attributes of the materials that he uses – from cedar shingles to sandblasted glass, each work showcases the unique qualities of its constituent materials.
In his own words, Peter Zumthor said it best: “I believe that architecture today needs to reflect on the tasks and possibilities which are inherently its own. Architecture is not a vehicle or a symbol for things that do not belong to its essence. In a society that celebrates the inessential, architecture can put up a resistance, counteract the waste of forms and meanings, and speak its own language. I believe that the language of architecture is not a question of a specific style. Every building is built for a specific use in a specific place and for a specific society. My buildings try to answer the questions that emerge from these simple facts as precisely and critically as they can.”