Peter Zumthor

Striking architecture without even trying

Peter Zumthor is widely known in the international realm of architecture. He has won the Pritzker Prize (2009) and other acknowledgments as he is not only an architect but a designer, restorer, and even a cabinetmaker. Nevertheless, he keeps a low profile.

An essential part of his work stands out because of its artistic potential and zone representation, more than its impact on the media –as it happens with most Pritzker Prize winners–. Such is the case of his participation in a couple of museums and chapels which don’t have more than 200 m2 of structure. However, this does not limit its reach.

Between his most important creations, stands out the Termas de Vals Hotel, built at the end of the nineties. With a solid design inside and outside, the hotel is well established in the property, which shows respect and serenity, because it could easily stand out from its environment. Instead, the building has the main intention of being discreet and elegant.

Saint Benedict Chapel – Photo: Ali42 /

Another prominent project by Peter Zumthor is Saint Benedict Chapel in Switzerland. Here, exact geometry is the design’s backbone, as well as its structural system. As the main materials, it uses wood and tile, similar to the ones in the houses in town. 

To sum up, Peter Zumthor is a unique architect. By focusing more on teaching and the philosophy of respect and coexistence with the surroundings, Zumthor creates striking architecture, even when this is not his main objective.

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