Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Peter Zumthor, 2009 Pritker Laureate

Not that anyone asked, but I am quite pleased that, as most news services have reported by now, Peter Zumthor has won this year's Pritzker Prize. The Pritzker is the highest honor in architecture and, really, I found it astonishing that Zumthor hadn't won yet.

I've never had the pleasure of visiting any of Zumthor's built projects, unfortunately. When I was in Switzerland, I really wanted to go see his most famous project, the thermal baths at Val (photo above), but didn't have the time. I will just have to go back sometime! I have, though, seen him lecture, which was just wonderful. Also, I did a project in grad school about his Bregenz art museum (below), after which a small group of us got to have a meeting with one of the project's engineers to discuss the building in depth. That was pretty cool.

One of the things I like about Zumthor is that you never really know what you are going to get from him. The building will be beautiful and well-thought-out, but he has no set style. Unlike a Frank Gehry, who you hire because you want a Gehry building (read: swoopy and shiny), Zumthor produces something new and beautiful each time.

photos from Wikipedia

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