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The 10 best books on architecture that are always worth coming back to. NArchitekTURA recommends

22 of May '20
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8. "Peter Zumthor 1985-2013 Buildings and Projects".

Authors: Peter Zumthor, Thomas Durisch
Publisher: Scheidegger & Spiess
Zurich 2014

Peter Zumthor, Thomas
Durisch „Peter Zumthor 1985-2013. Buildings and Projects


The genesis of the five-volume monograph "Peter Zumthor 1985-2013: Buildings and Projects" (published as three separate publications in English, German and French) dates back to 2007. At the time, Swiss designer and curator Thomas Durisch (an Atelier Zumthor associate from 1990 to 1994) organized a retrospective exhibition of his mentor at the Kunsthaus in Bregenz, Austria. The gathering in one place of dozens of models, sketches and drawings pulled from the archives of Zumthor's studio in Haldenstein became a good pretext for documenting, systematizing and cataloging the architect's sizable creative output, and the starting point for the lengthy process of preparing the book.

The premiere of the monograph was postponed several times, and the cover design was revised at the last minute - the blue uniform fabric was replaced with a gray, porous fabric, reminiscent of the textures of the walls in the temporary pavilion of London's Serpentine Gallery or the Allmannjuvet Zinc Mine Museum in the Norwegian town of Sauda.

Zumthor was responsible for selecting the designs, choosing the individual illustrations, and wrote most of the texts included in the publication. The concise essays present fascinating stories related to the chronologically presented numerous concepts and, unfortunately, much less numerous realizations. In the individual five volumes, however, Zumthor's architecture appears in the background, so to speak, more as a pretext for reflection, discussion, comparison and analysis. Various cities, hotels, houses, artists, musicians, composers, directors, writers, philosophers - in other words, the "backstage", context and inspiration of the Swiss architect's works - come through in the author's descriptions. The architect does not always use the names of specific places or people in these texts, so to speak, encouraging the reader to discover more mysteries on his own. This game may not be as sophisticated as in the outstanding books by Julio Cortázar or Italo Calvino, but it is engaging and intriguing.

A great deal of the author's calm, focus and experience - professional, life and literary - can be felt in his latest monograph. Zumthor projects and writes carefully, unhurriedly, with Swiss precision taking care of every detail, image and word. The monograph "Peter Zumthor 1985-2013: Buildings and Projects", is, after "Thinking Architecture", "Atmospheres" and "A Feeling of History", another publication that allows us to explore at least part of the secrets of this unique architect.

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