Pritzker Prize winning architect, Peter Zumthor is often described as the “architect’s architect”. His rigorous approach and uncompromising attitude to every aspect of design and construction have resulted in a small number of perfectly formed buildings, the most famous of which are the Thermal Baths in Vals (1996). Many of his projects take several years to build, or fail to be built at all. He is best known for contemplative, elemental buildings and a careful style of working. He describes his method as being like that of US minimalist composer John Cage – an aleatoric process of conversation and reduction.
The wooden houses are built in the traditional Swiss regional style. The walls are composed of pine boards that are assembled, frame free, by tongue and groove. The height of the houses make the walls appear to be paper thin. Zumthor likes his structures to exude lightness and even fragility. All of the roofs of the region are obligated by law to use rough-hewn granite slabs for roof tiling. These roofs, require massive structures including one, or two central beams at the peak of the roof. Zumthor eliminates the central beam by pulling the frames together at their bases with steel rods in order to form the peak thus creating an empty space between the house and the roof.
Books: Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture
In this book Peter Zumthor expresses his motivation in designing buildings that speak to our feelings and understanding in so many ways and that possess a powerful and unmistakable presence and personality. The book is illustrated throughout with colour photographs by Laura Padgett of Zumthor’s new home and studio in Haldenstein. This book has been described as “cult reading material for students and architects around the world”.
Buy it here: Amazon