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Peter Zumthor, Swiss Architect

b. 1943


Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor, winner of the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor, winner of the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Photo © Gary Ebner courtesy of Peter Zumthor
Peter Zumthor designed Art Museum Kolumba, Cologne, Germany

Peter Zumthor designed Art Museum Kolumba, Cologne, Germany. Photo ©Elke Wetzig, Elya on Wikimedia Commons, CC-SA 3.0 Unported, 2.5, 2.0 and 1.0 Generic.

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor with the Royal Gold Medal, 2013

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor with the Royal Gold Medal, 2013

Photo of Peter Zumthor and Royal Gold Medal by Morley von Sternberg ©2013RIBA


April 26, 1943 in Basel, Switzerland


  • 1958-1962: Trained as a cabinet maker
  • 1963-1967: Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland and the Pratt Institute in New York City, USA.

Selected Buildings:

Selected Awards:

  • 1995: International Prize for Stone Architecture, Fiera di Verona, Italy
  • 1995: Internationaler Architekturpreis für Neues Bauen in den Alpen, Graubünden, Switzerland
  • 1996: Erich-Schelling-Preis für Architektur, Erich-Schelling-Stiftung, Germany
  • 1999: Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture, for the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Barcelona, Spain
  • 2006: Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award
  • 2008: Praemium Imperiale, Japan Arts Association
  • 2009: Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • 2013: Royal Gold Medal, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)


  • "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."
    Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor
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  • "If architecture education does not focus on constructing, it becomes irrelevant for the building industry.....Select your school carefully. Select your professors carefully. Try and go to a place where architecture is taught as a whole thing – not only as a theory, but also as a way of living."
    Interview with Royal Gold Medallist Peter Zumthor by James Pallister, Architects Journal, EMAP Publishing Limited, February 5, 2013 [accessed March 30, 2014]
  • "There is something bigger in the world than you are."
    Merin, Gili. "Peter Zumthor: Seven Personal Observations on Presence In Architecture" 03 Dec 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Mar 2014.

About Peter Zumthor:

The son of a cabinet maker, Peter Zumthor is often praised for the detailed craftsmanship of his designs. Peter Zumthor works with a range of materials, from cedar shingles to sandblasted glass, to create inviting textures. "I work a little bit like a sculptor,” Zumthor told the New York Times. "When I start, my first idea for a building is with the material. I believe architecture is about that. It's not about paper, it's not about forms. It's about space and material." (Full story)

Peter Zumthor lives quietly in the remote village of Haldenstein in the Swiss mountains. His buildings are found mainly in Europe.

Peter Zumthor on the Web
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