Obscure Swiss Architect Wins Pritzker Prize

Zumthor 'reaffirmed architecture’s indispensable place'
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2009 5:17 PM CDT
Obscure Swiss Architect Wins Pritzker Prize
People swim in the Therme Spa built by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, in Vals, Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. Zumthor has won the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize   (AP Photo/Keystone/Martin Ruetschi, file)

You’ve probably never heard of him, but tomorrow Peter Zumthor will receive what’s considered the Nobel Prize of architecture, the New York Times reports. His work isn’t flashy or well-known, but he “develops buildings of great integrity—untouched by fad or fashion” that have “reaffirmed architecture’s indispensable place in a fragile world,” the Pritzker Prize’s jury citation reads.

True to his reputation as hands-on and down-to-earth, the Swiss architect likes to keep things simple. “I’m this guy who, when I take on a commission, I do it inside out, everything myself, with my team,” he says. Perhaps Zumthor’s most famous work is a Swiss spa that mirrors ancient baths, though he also became known for designing a scrapped museum on Nazi Germany called the Topography of Terror.
(More architecture stories.)

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