Tag Archives: Thinking Architecture

Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture: solid & void

“Form [DOWN] and construction [DOWN], appearance [UP] and function [UP] are no longer separate.  They belong together and form a whole.”

[ZUMTHOR Peter, Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, 2006]


Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture: whole & details

“Architecture is allways faced with the challenge of developing a whole [WHOLE] out of innumerable details [PART], out of various functions and forms, materials and dimensions.  The architect must look for rational constructions and forms, for edges and joints, for the points where surfaces intersect and different materials meet.  These formal details determine the sensitive transitions within the larger proportions of the building.  The details establisch the formal rhythm, the building’s finely fractionated scale.  Details express what the basic idea of the design requeres at the relevant point in the object: belonging or separation, tension or lightness, friction, solidity, fragility… .  Details, when they are successful, are not mere decoration.  They do not distract or entertain.  They lead to an understanding of the whole of which they are an inherent part.”

[ZUMTHOR Peter, Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, 2006]

Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture: past, existing and new

“Every new work of architecture intervenes in a specific historical [KAIROS] situation.  It is essential to the quality of the intervention that the new building [KAIROS] should embrace qualities that can enter into a meaningful dialogue with the existing [KAIROS] situation.  For the intervention is to find its place, it must make us see what already exists in a new light.  We throw a stone into the water.  Sand swirls up and settles again.  The stir was necessary.  The stone has found its place.  But the pond is no longer the same.  I believe those buildings only be accepted by their surroundings if they have the ability to appeal to our emotions and minds in various ways.  Since our feelings and understanding are rooted in the past, our sensuous connections with a building must respect the process of remembering.”

[ZUMTHOR Peter, Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, 2006]

Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture: feeling & reason

“The design process is based on a constant interplay of feeling [RIGHT] and reason [LEFT]. The feelings, preferences, longings and desires that emerge and demand to be given a form must be controlled by critical powers of reasoning, but is is our feelings that tell us whether abstract considerations really ring true.  To a large degree, designing is based on understanding and establishing systems of order.  Yet I believe that the essential substance of the architecture we seek proceeds from feeling and insight.  Precious moments of intuition result from patient work.  With the sudden emergence of an inner image, a new line in a drawing, the whole design changes and is newly formulated within a fraction of a second.  It is as if a powerful drug were suddenly taking effect.  Everything I knew before about the thing I am creating is flooded by a bright new light.  I experience joy and passion, and something deep inside me seems to affirm: ‘ I want to build this house!’  …  Form [RIGHT] and construction [LEFT], appearance [RIGHT] and function [LEFT] are no longer separate.  They belong together and form a whole.”

[ZUMTHOR Peter, Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, 2006]