Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor was born on April 26, 1943, the son of a cabinet maker, Oscar Zumthor, in Basel, Switzerland. He trained as a cabinet maker from 1958 to 1962. From 1963-67, he studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vorkurs and Fachklasse with further studies in design at Pratt Institute in New York.

In 1967, he was employed by the Canton of Graubünden (Switzerland) in the Department for the Preservation of Monuments working as a building and planning consultant and architectural analyst of historical villages, in addition to realizing some restorations. He established his own practice in 1979 in Haldenstein, Switzerland where he still works with a small staff of fifteen.

Zumthor is married to Annalisa Zumthor-Cuorad. They have three children, all adults, Anna Katharina, Peter Conradin, and Jon Paulin, and two grandchildren.

Since 1996, he has been a professor at the Academy of Architecture, Universitá della Svizzera Italiana, Mendrisio. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Southern California Institute of Architecture and SCI-ARC in Los Angeles in 1988; at the Technische Universität, Munich in 1989; and at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University in 1999.

His many awards include the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association in 2008 as well as the Carlsberg Architecture Prize in Denmark in 1998, and the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 1999. In 2006, he received the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture from the University of Virginia. The American Academy of Arts and Letters bestowed the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture in 2008. In 2009 he receives The Pritzker Architecture Price.

In the recent book published by Barrons Educational Series, Inc. titled, Architectura, Elements of Architectural Style, with the distinguished architectural historian from Australia, Professor Miles Lewis, as general editor, the Zumthor’s Thermal Bath building at Vals is described as „a superb example of simple detailing that is used to create highly atmospheric spaces. The design contrasts cool, gray stone walls with the warmth of bronze railings, and light and water are employed to sculpt the spaces. The horizontal joints of the stonework mimic the horizontal lines of the water, and there is a subtle change in the texture of the stone at the waterline. Skylights inserted into narrow slots in the ceiling create a dramatic line of light that accentuates the fluidity of the water. Every detail of the building thus reinforces the importance of the bath on a variety of levels.“

In the book titled Thinking Architecture, first published by Birkhauser in 1998, Zumthor set down in his own words a philosophy of architecture. One sample of his thoughts is as follows: „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.“ (from The Pritzker Architecture Price Mediatext)


Gastprofessuren am Southern California Institute of Architecture, SCI-ARC, Los Angeles, 1988; an der Technischen Universität München, 1989, und an der Graduate School of Design, GSD, Harvard University, Boston, 1999. Von 1996-2008 Professor an der Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana, Mendrisio.


Zumthor sehen, Bilder von Hans Danuser, Hrsg. Köbi Gantenbein, Hochparterre AG, Deutsch, Englisch, Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009, 88 S..
Peter Zumthor: Therme Vals, Peter Zumthor, Hrsg. Peter Zumthor, Deutsch, Scheidegger & Spiess, Zürich 2006, 192 Seiten.
Zwischen Bild und Realität, Architekturvorträge der ETH Zürich, Heft 2, Deutsch, gta Verlag, Zürich 2006, 80 Seiten.
Peter Zumthor: Atmosphären, Architektonische Umgebungen - Die Dinge um mich herum, Deutsch, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Boston, Berlin 2006, 75 Seiten.


2017 grosser BDA Preis des Bundes Deutscher Architekten
2013 Nike, Architekturpreis des Bundes Deutscher Architekten
2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, Royal Institute of British Architects
2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize
2008 DAM Preis für Architektur in Deutschland
2008 Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association
2006 Prix Meret Oppenheim, Schweiz
1998 Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture Barcelona, Spain
1998 Carlsberg Architectural Prize Copenhagen, Denmark

In nextroom dokumentiert:
7. Vorarlberger Hypo-Bauherrenpreis 2015, Preisträger, Werkraum Bregenzerwald
ZV-Bauherrenpreis 2014, Preisträger, Werkraum Bregenzerwald
Brick Award 2008, Preisträger, Kolumba - Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln

Ausstellungen, Vorträge

2018 Venice, La Biennale, XVI International Architecture Exhibition, group exhibition, „Dreams and Promises - Models of Atelier Zumthor“
2018 Dear to Me. Ausstellung von Peter Zumthor im Kunsthaus Bregenz zum 20-jährigen Jubiläum des Kunsthauses
2012 Venice, La Biennale, XII International Architecture Exhibition, group exhibition, „Common Ground“
2008 Peter Zumthor Bauten und Projekte 1986-2007, Kunsthaus Bregenz
2002 Venice, La Biennale, VIII International Architecture Exhibition, group exhibition, „Next“
2001 Peter Zumthor – studio exhibition at the Kolumba in Cologne
1999 Peter Zumthor - Bilder av Hélène Binet, Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm
1998 Chur, Bündner Kunstmuseum, touring exhibition, „The Architecture of Peter Zumthor in Photographs by Hélène Binet“
1997 Lucerne, Architecture Gallery
1996 Zurich, Architekturforum
1996 Venice, La Biennale, VI International Architecture Exhibition, group exhibition, „Emerging Voices“
1996 Augsburg, Architekturmuseum Schwaben
1996 Ljubljana, Dessa Gallery
1996 London, Architectural Association, School of Architecture
1995 Berlin, Aedes West Gallery
1995 New York, Museum of Modern Art, group exhibition, „Light Construction“
1994 Austin Texas, University of Austin, group exhibition, „Construction Intention Detail“
1991 Biel, group exhibition, „Tabula Rasa, 25 Künstler im Stadtraum von Biel“
1990 Lausanne, Federal Institute of Technology
1989 Graz, Linz, Innsbruck, Bolzano
1988 Lucerne, Architecture Gallery

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Peter Zumthor © Brigitte Lacombe, Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner