How do you specifically define design? Swiss architect and 2009 Pritzker Prize laureate, Peter Zumthor defines it as this, “Associative, wild, free, ordered and systematic thinking in images, in architectural, spatial, colorful and sensuous pictures-this is my favorite definition of design.”
Only accepting projects that hold atmosphere and program true to the soul, he designs every detail to engage each of the senses; sight, smell, hearing and touch. His design process is based on feeling, insight, reason and a system of order. When feelings and desires ripen and impetrate presence and form, they are manipulated with reasoning. Zumthor’s buildings, in time, evolve organically and become part of the dialogue, form and history of the site.
“…in my buildings I try to enhance what seems to be valuable, to correct what is disturbing and to create anew what we feel is missing…every building is built for a specific use in a specific place and for a specific society. My buildings try to answer the questions that emerge from these simple facts as precisely and critically as they can.” -Zumthor
Typical of Zumthor’s design approach, his Thermal Baths in Vals, Switzerland, harmonized with its site’s geology. Initial questions emerged from the site including purpose and building materials. From there, structures and spaces were sketched and developed. Constructed from local Valser quartzite, the bath complex is treated as a volume of rock hollowed out of the earth.
Zumthor’s design approach aligns with Charles Luck’s Honest Trend, valuing truth to site, material, space and craftsmanship. He designs personal, elegant spaces that are responsible and meaningful. If you’re interested in discovering more about Zumthor’s design philosophy, check out Peter Zumthor’s books Thinking Architecture or Atmospheres. To learn more about Charles Luck’s annual design forecast and the Honest trend, please check out our website or watch this inspirational video.