Peter Zumthor released new renderings for his LACMA redesign last week, and boy are people not impressed! We talk about the "undercooked" look of Zumthor's snaking concrete inkblot plan for the museum, and experiment with a new segment devoted to ranting on the podcast. You've been warned.
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Lecture date: 1996-02-15
In common with Peter Zumthors other projects in recent years the Thermal Bath built in the mountain village of Vals is a building in which the materials used have had a significant impact on the interpretation of the brief. From the projects inception, Zumthor allowed what he saw as the mystical qualities of the stone and the elemental character of the surrounding region to influence hiss creation of an environment in which to observe the ritual of bathing.
Projects in the Swiss Alps such as the chapel of Sogn Benedetdg in Sumvitg (1987) and the Thermal Bath in Vals (1996) shaped the image of Peter Zumthor as a quasi-romanticist, anti-urban architect working in remote areas, far away from the hubs of modern life, in a seemingly untouched natural context. What if this image is wrong? Can an analysis of the economic context and the exploitation of the Alps in the late 20th century by the tourist and energy industry help to revise this image? Was Henri Lefebvre right with his prophecy of the "complete urbanization"?
Philip Ursprung is Professor for Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Zurich. He received his PhD at Freie Universitat Berlin and taught at the Universitat der Kunste Berlin, ETH Zurich, and GSAPP of Columbia University New York. He curated the exhibition and edited the book Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (CCA Montreal, Lars Muller Publishers, 2002), edited Caruso St John: Almost Everything (Poligrafa, 2008) and Studio Olafur Eliasson: An Encyclopedia (Taschen, 2008). His book Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art is forthcoming with University of California Press.
Intervista con l’architetto Peter Zumthor (Basilea, Svizzera), selezionato per la 15. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura.
Interview with the architect Peter Zumthor (Basel, Switzerland), selected to participate in the 15th International Architecture Exhibition.
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor discusses his ground-breaking design for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, followed by a collaborative performance between Basel-based musician and composer Fritz Hauser and drummer Peter Conradin Zumthor.
We visited Peter Zumthor – one of the world’s leading architects – in his studio in Switzerland. In this extensive and rare biographical video interview he tells the captivating story of his childhood, his studies in NYC and his parents’ strong influence.
Zumthor – who works from the small town of Haldenstein in Switzerland – likes being outside the big centres of the world, as it frees him of having to consider the opinions of his fellow colleagues: “If you work like an artist, you need your own separate space.” He does, however, also work well in the “anonymous sound” of a city, where it is also possible to find calm in “a protective ocean of sound.” There are, Zumthor feels, different kinds of silence, and finding one’s mental silence – being able to concentrate – is what is most important in order to work well.
“There’s nothing I’m not interested in.” Zumthor loves literature and music, but prides himself in taking an overall interest in different things, as it fuels him: “It’s a nourishing ground.” His constant appetite for learning gives him the tools to be able to understand whatever place or landscape he needs to work in, and being able to “feel a space” and having an idea how to react as an architect, is essential. When he designs his innovative architecture, Zumthor furthermore puts great emphasis on connecting the old with the new, rather than breaking with history. Likewise, he feels that all architects have a great social responsibility when it comes to creating buildings, which are both well crafted and sustainable.
Anything can be considered art as long as it’s done with personal devotion to the making of it, Zumthor argues: “I never decided to become an architect.” Starting out as an industrial designer, it was not until 1968 that he made the decision of becoming an architect and began participating in competitions, thinking to himself: “I can do this better.” As for the first competition he entered, he was kicked out in the first round – a pivotal experience that made him aware of the need to always improve.
Peter Zumthor (b. 1943) is a Swiss architect. Among his best-known projects are the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the thermal baths in Vals in Switzerland, the Swiss Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover (an all-timber structure intended to be recycled after the event) and the Kolumba Diocesan Museum in Cologne. Zumthor is the winner of several prestigious awards such as the 1998 Carlsberg Architecture Prize, the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture (1999), the Praemium Imperiale (2008), the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize and the 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. He lives and works in Switzerland.
For more about Peter Zumthor see: http://zumthor.tumblr.com/
Peter Zumthor was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his studio in Haldenstein, Switzerland in May 2015.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden