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Peter Zumthor Works: Buildings Projects

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A year later in The New York Times, on January 7 of this year, Dian Ketchum's story, "Architecture's Swiss Mystic," further fanned the hype about this form cabinetmaker, whom she admitted "has barely a dozen buildings to his credit." With just a few commissions, Zumthor, the new superstar architect, has reinvented Modernism as minimalism derived from the Swiss vernacular combined with his own sense of translucent atmospherics. And he writes. In the introduction to Peter Zumthor Works: Buildings and Projects 1979-1997. Zumthor himself describes the origins of his sensibility-a near state of grace between tectonics and poetics that relies on ephemeral and often mysterious intuitive forces.

Works features 8 buildings and 12 projects, ranging from small rural houses (including Zumthor's own studio of 1985-86) to public architecture and provincial museums. Since 1978, like most architects, he has been entering design competitions-losing more than he wins. But his major commissions, like the Thermal Baths at Vals, all resulted from competitions. -- Oculus

Peter Zumthor is not yet a household name among architects, due to his minimal production and his reluctance to publish his work. With the completion of ahealth spa in Vals, Switzerland, and an art museum in Bregenz, Austria--extraordinary works that seem destined to represent the age--the Swiss architect's aloofness can no longer be maintained....Deceptively simple--cubes, oblongs, cylinders--the 54-year-old architect's buildings cannot be captured in photographs; their true essence comes from the experience of textures, the play of light, the celebration of craft, and the kinesthesia of their spaces....Each work goes to extremes to eliminate the superfluous, yielding the paradox of an architecture of pure materials and continuous space that is at once impossibly simple yet wrenchingly mysterious. -- Richard Ingersoll, Architecture, Oct 1997

The Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has over the last years completed a series of built works that have captivated us with their object simplicity and their material sophistication. More than anyone he has reinforced the physical power of architecture. Avoiding rhetorical gesture he has managed to complete a series of buildings that are joyful in their manifestation of form, material, and construction....While fashionable minimalism achieves its results by exclusion, Zumthor's work is informed by complex understanding and the working-through of problems....More than any other contemporary architect Peter Zumthor has persisted in maintaining architecture as a constructive craft. Through his built work he shows us how architecture can be invested with idea, how idea does not have to conspire with ideology. He demonstrates that through a multiple and layered process architecture can have intent without rhetoric, purpose without dogma, gravity and light. -- David Chipperfield, AA Files

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568981430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568981437
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 1.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,848,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now that the 2014, 5-volume collection featuring selections from Zumthor’s oeuvre has been published, is this book still worth referencing?


Although the date range of the first two volumes roughly coincides with the date range of this book, they aren't a reprint. As I mentioned in my review of the new collection, the two publications are similar in spirit, but there are some differences. The length of the sections devoted to each entry is generally shorter in the new books, meaning that a large number of photos aren't included in the 2014 collection. This is doubly true because the layout of the new collection is slightly more open when buildings are covered and much more open when projects are covered. After carefully comparing the two publications, I've come to the conclusion that probably 50% of the material in this book isn't included in the new collection.

Projects that aren't in the 2014 books include the Community Center, Landquart, Graubünden, 1987; Holiday Hotel, Swiss Association of the Blind, Willerzell, Schwyz, 1989; Burghalde Apartment Building, Baden, Aargau, 1989; Lindua Casino, Lake Constance, Germany, 1995; and Villa in Küsnacht on Lake Zurich, 1997. The designs of the Kolumba and the Swiss Sound Box later changed; this book presents an earlier version of both designs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because the Swiss architect has such a loyal following among architects around the world, and because Zumthor refuses to allow his books go into extra printings, this jewel of a book documenting a half dozen of Zumthor's project is much coveted by collectors. The photographs are sumptuously lit, and beautifully printed.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very handsome book of mainly black and white photos of the Swiss modernist's work. There are some small color photos but I would have preferred to have seen more. The Architectural Review did a recent spread on the Baths and the blue of the stone used was very evocative. Still this is a beautiful book on a very impressive architect.
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