Switzerland's Zumthor wins Pritzker

14th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Peter Zumthor, 65, wins the 'Nobel of Architecture' Monday for his buildings in Switzerland and Germany.

LOS ANGELES - Switzerland's Peter Zumthor was named Sunday as the winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the industry's most prestigious annual award.

Zumthor, 65, will receive his honor, often described as the "Nobel of Architecture," at a ceremony in Buenos Aires on 29 May, where he will be presented with a bronze medallion and a USD 100,000 (CHF 114,000) grant.

Thomas J Pritzker, chairman of the Los Angeles-based Hyatt Foundation which oversees the award, said in a statement Zumthor was chosen in recognition of work that was "focused, uncompromising and exceptionally determined."

"All of Peter Zumthor's buildings have a strong, timeless presence," Pritzker said. "He has a rare talent of combining clear and rigorous thought with a truly poetic dimension, resulting in works that never cease to inspire."

Although most of Zumthor's works are found in Switzerland, the architect also designed projects in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, England, Spain, Norway, Finland and the United States.

Among Zumthor's most famous works are the Thermal Baths in Vals, Switzerland, often described as his masterpiece, while his Field Chapel to Saint Nikolause von der Flue near Cologne, Germany also won praise.

The Pritzker jury noted both of those projects as well as Cologne's Kolumba Museum, described as a "startling contemporary work ... one that is completely at ease with its many layers of history."

Zumthor described his award Sunday as a "wonderful recognition of the architectural work we have done in the last 20 years."

"That a body of work as small as ours is recognised in the professional world makes us feel proud and should give much hope to young professionals that if they strive for quality in their work it might become visible without any special promotion," he said.

Zumthor's award marks only the second time in the award’s 30 year history that Swiss talent won, following the victory of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in 2001.

AFP / Expatica

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