The Royal Institute of British Architects honored Peter Zumthor for his significant influence on the advancement of architecture by naming him the recipient of the 2013 Royal Gold Medal.
 Il Royal Institute of BritishArchitects ha premiato Peter Zumthor per la sua significativa influenza sulprogresso dell'architettura, conferendogli la Royal Gold Medal 2013. 
The Medal is presented annually to an architect in recognition of a lifetime’s work. Angela Brady (RIBA President) stated: “Peter Zumthor’s work renews the link with a tradition of modern architecture that emphasizes place, community and material practice.  His writings dwell upon the experience of designing, building and inhabitation while his buildings are engaged in a rich dialogue with architectural history."

It all started in 1979, in Switzerland when Zumthor founded his “small yet powerful and uncompromising practice”. Since, he has built a prestigious, international reputation for creating “highly atmospheric spaces through the mastery of light and choice of materials”. The Zumthor experience ignites the senses, with “every detail reinforcing the essence of the building and its surroundings.”

Zumthor is an architect devoted to the practice of architecture itself, devoted to things made ​​as perfect as possible. According to him, producing quality in architecture does not mean appearing in guides or books on the history of architecture. The architecture is good when a building is able to touch emotionally.

© Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner

As stated by him, this is his modus operandi: only after answering the questions about the site, the materials and the task, you can design spaces and structures. The comparison with peculiar characteristics in the background of a specific task of construction, involves the ability to understand, then to externalize a part of the essence of the original. "I’m interested in reality of the ​​constructive concept, aimed to housing. It is the reality of building materials - stone, canvas, steel, leather -, it’s in their properties that I try to penetrate with my imagination, taking care of the sense and sensuality, to build, perhaps, a construction happily successful. The reality of architecture is what is real: ​​form, mass and space, the body. There are no ideas but in things."

In the old Post Office beside Kunsthaus Bregenz, that he designed in the 1990s, a variety of clay, wood and metal models welcome the public. They are displayed upon shelves expressly created for the exhibition by Peter Zumthor. 

Photo: Markus Tretter       © Kunsthaus Bregenz

Realized buildings as well as projects that remained in the design stage demonstrate the oustanding role of working with models and original materials in Zumthor’s studio. Atmospheric models: handmade, carved, cut, molded and cast: design tools interpreting the narrative that the place and the building would have produced once completed. Models made by materials composing the real architecture – cement is cement, coal is coal, land is land – pieces of reality. Models help understanding every detail. Models help gathering architect’s thoughts.

© Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner
Photo: Christian Hinz
Photo: Christian Hinz

The show runs until October 28th and another Zumthor exhibition “Architecture and Landscape” is planned for 2013.