History of Our World

Art Museum Bregenz | Peter Zumthor, 1990-1997

Posted in Architecture, Print by R on January 12, 2010

Sketch, plan

West façade with works by James Turrell on exhibit

Exterior wall

Entrance hall

Gallery space and staircase on south side

Downward view of the staircase

Gallery on upper floor

To me, there is something revealing about the work of Joseph Beuys and some of the artists of the Arte Povera group. What impresses me is the precise and sensuous ways they use materials. It seems anchored in an ancient, elemental knowledge about man’s use of materials, and at the same time to expose the very essence of these materials which is beyond all culturally conveyed meaning.

I try to use materials like this in my work. I believe that they can assume a poetic quality in the context of an architectural object, although only if the architect is able to generate a meaningful situation for them, since materials in themselves are not poetic. The sense that I try to instill into materials is beyond all rules of composition, and their tangibility, smell and acoustic qualities are merely elements of the language that we are obliged to use. Sense emerges when I succeed in bringing out the specific meanings of certain materials in my buildings, meanings which can only be perceived in just this way in just this building.

If we work towards this goal, we must constantly ask ourselves what the use of a particular material could mean in a specific architectural context. Good answers to these questions can throw new light onto both the way in which the material is generally used and its own inherent sensuous qualties.

If we succeed in this, materials in architecture can be made to shine and vibrate.


a+u Extra Edition| Peter Zumthor

Nobuyuki Yoshida : Peter Zumthor

a+u Publishing co.





Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. David Seetoh Lang said, on January 23, 2010 at 22:54

    […] a couple posts I’ve been into on History of Our World, one of the best image blogs around. Peter Zumthor, and Lux et […]

  2. Jelmer said, on August 25, 2010 at 00:22

    Quite a coincidence to find this on your blog! A while ago I picked up the exact same magazine from our architecture library – because it was the only book on Zumthor available at that time – some pages were missing and the whole thing was in bad shape, but the text and details in it made me appreciate Zumthor so much more.

    The facade of the museum actually reminds me of some works by Jan Schoonhoven, you can find them online but they are hard to appreciate on photos. I guess the same is true of Zumthor’s architecture, even though the images are beautiful, I’m sure actually experiencing the space is much better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: