Standing in the middle of a green pasture, a chapel rises silently and soberly towards the sky, like one more geological element. In a hidden valley, a thermal spa sprouts from the ground the same colour of the mountains cradling it, a smooth levelness surrounded by sharp elevations. On the edge of a Swiss lake, a translucent cube mirrors the light shimmering on the water surface.
Film installation by Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch
on the Therme Vals (by Peter Zumthor), at the Kunsthaus Bregenz
© Nicole Six & Paul Petritsch
Peter Zumthor's works stand apart from the current architectural production for their sense of serene and self-assured inevitability. Free of excesses or dramatic gestures, the buildings do not want to dominate over their surroundings, they do not need to call attention to themselves. Their existence and relevance do not require external validation, quite the contrary. Each building is imbued with a distinct self-conscience, with the confidence and feeling of belonging born of a strong, autonomous identity.
The interior spaces designed by Peter Zumthor possess a perfectly timed and paced logic that is all their own. It is embodied in the formal minimalism, the richness of the carefully executed details and the profoundly symbolic and evocative narrative that arises from the combination of all these elements. These spaces, which should be experiences with all senses alert and eager, are in turn inserted in a wider context and perspective of harmony, integration and sustainability.
Simplicity and subtlety are Zumthor's languages of choice to develop projects that feel “right” for a particular site, that challenge time and are destined to cross it and carve out their place in history as well as the landscape.
Selected Reference Works
1996 Thermal Baths Vals, Switzerland;
1997 Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria;
2007 Saint Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Mechernich, Germany,
2007 Kolumba Museum , Cologne, Germany.