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It feels fitting that a building which Swiss architect Peter Zumthor designed is now housing an exhibition of his work at the Werkraum Bregenzerwald in the Bregenzerwald Forest. Not only that, but it is also the perfect vessel to showcase over 40 of Zumthor's architectural models with the purpose of highlighting the link between craftsmanship and architecture in this exhibition entitled Architectural Models from the Atelier Peter Zumthor.
Born in 1943, Zumthor is now in his eightieth year and continues to design from his studio in Switzerland. Among his many notable highlights are a London Serpentine pavilion project in 2011, the shimmering cube Kunsthaus Bregenz on Lake Constance, thermal baths in Vals and the timber-clad Swiss Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover. His awards include 2009 Pritzker Prize and 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal.
Now, architect aficionados can see the thinking behind the man known for his honest, minimalist designs in a wide range of working architectural models from his projects, some of which have never been seen before. As with the designing of the Werkraum, where Zumthor brought together local craftsman to bring his designs to life giving a humble honesty that reflected the region, his models also show the symbiosis between his inner workings, the outward projection and the tactility of materials and how they bring animation to the model. This is in direct opposition to the digital process used in computer-aided design (CAD) and is, in many ways, the antithesis of modern architectural design, rooting his art in the skillsets of craftmanship, artistry and creativity.
The exhibition was brought about in collaboration with the curator and Finnish architect Hannele Grönlund, who worked with Peter Zumthor on Architectural Models from the Atelier Peter Zumthor, which will run until 16th September 2023. Alongside the visual treat of seeing the architectural models up close, we think the exhibition gives a tangible, grounded feel to architecture, giving ideas a solid form, materials their actual tactility and above all, an overarching respect to the master craftsman: Peter Zumthor.