Last month RIBA announced that world renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious architecture prizes, the Royal Gold Medal 2013.
Founded in 1979, Peter Zumthor’s ‘small yet powerful and uncompromising practice’ has many well known projects under its belt, including Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, The Therme Vals (Thermal Baths) in Switzerland, the Kolumba Art Museum in Cologne, and in 2011 he designed the Serpentine Pavilion. He is currently designing a house in Devon for philosopher Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture (architect designed) holiday home scheme.
His many previous awards include the Heinrich Tessenow Medal, Technical University, Hanover, 1989; Carlsberg Architectural Prize, Copenhagen, 1998; Bündner Kulturpreis, Graubünden, 1998; Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture, Barcelona, 1998; Prix Meret Oppenheim, Federal Office of Culture, Switzerland, 2006; Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association, 2008; DAM Prize for Architecture in Germany, 2008 and The Pritzker Architecture Prize, The Hyatt Foundation, 2009.
In 2006 he was awarded the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award by the Wood in Culture Association, Finland and our Finnish publisher, Rakennustieto, published an accompanying book of the same name.
In his own words, Zumthor has set down his own philosophy of architecture: “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.”
Peter Zumthor will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony at RIBA, London on 6 February 2013.