Born in 1943 in Basel (Switzerland), Peter Zumthor studied Design and Architecture in Kunstgewerbeshule Basel and the Pratt Institute in New York. The son of a cabinet-maker, he was himself an apprentice of this craft, an experience that would shape his sensitive and discerning regard for the physical and aesthetic qualities of materials, as well as his keen eye for detail.
In the beginning of his career as an architect, Zumthor worked in several restauration projects, which enabled him to acquire a vast knowledge of rustic materials and construction techniques, which he would latter apply to Modernist-inspired projects.
Zumthor has led a highly prestigious teaching career, having lectured in the Southern California Institute of Architecture em Los Angeles, the Technical University of Munich, Università della Svizzera Italiana and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Since he believes architecture should be lived and enjoyed first-hand, his work is mostly unpublished.
Peter Zumthor lives and works in Hadenstein, Switzerland, where he founded his own Atelier in 1979.
Main Awards and Distinctions
1987 Auszeichnung guter Bauten im Kanton Graubüunden, Switzerland;
1989 Heinrich Tessenow Medal, Technische Universität Hannover, Germany;
1991 “Glulam”, European wood-glue prize;
1992 Internationaler Architekturpreis für Neues Bauen in den Alpen, Switzerland;
1993 Best Building of 1993 award from tv's '10 vor '10 programme, Switzerland;
1994 Auszeichnung guter Bauten im Kanton Graubüunden, Switzerland;
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, Germany;
1998 Carlsberg Architectural Prize, Denmark;
1999 Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture, Spain;
1999 Grosser Preis für Alpine Architektur, Sexten Kultur, Italy;
2003 Dottore Ad Honorem in architettura, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Italy;
2006 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, University of Virginia, USA;
2006 Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, Finland;
2006 Prix Meret Oppenheim; Federal Office of Culture, 2006, Switzerland.