Peter Zumthor, the world renowned Swiss architect, has been named today as the recipient of the Royal Gold Medal. Given in recognition of a lifetime's work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence "either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture."
Known for running a small yet powerful and uncompromising practice, Peter Zumthor founded his award-winning firm in 1979 in Switzerland. His most celebrated projects include the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Therme Vals (thermal baths) in Vals, Switzerland and the Kolumba Art Museum in Cologne. He designed London's 2011 Serpentine Pavilion and is currently designing a house in Devon for philosopher Alain de Botton's Living Architecture architect-designed holiday home scheme.
He is exceptionally talented at creating highly atmospheric spaces through his mastery of light and choice of materials. Zumthor's buildings, such as his small rural chapels and the Thermal Baths at Vals, are an experience for all the senses, with every detail reinforcing the essence of the building and its surroundings.
"Peter Zumthor's work renews the link with a tradition of modern architecture that emphasises place, community and material practice," commented Angela Brady, President of RIBA, who chaired the Honours Committee which selected the Royal Gold medal winner. "His writings dwell upon the experience of designing, building and inhabitation while his buildings are engaged in a rich dialogue with architectural history. I will be delighted to present him with the Royal Gold Medal."
Peter Zumthor will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal on February 6, 2013, at a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.
Photography: Gary Ebner