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Jun 06

This video shows an interview with Swiss architect and winner of the 2009 Pritzker Prize, Peter Zumthor. He studied Industrial Design and Architecture at Pratt Institute in New York. Zumthor founded his own firm in 1979. His practice grew quickly and he accepted more international projects. His best known projects are the Kunsthaus Bregenz (1997), a shimmering glass and concrete cube that overlooks Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Austria; the cave-like thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland (1999); the Swiss Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover, an all-timber structure intended to be recycled after the event; the Kolumba Diocesan Museum (2007), in Cologne; and the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, on a farm near Wachendorf. In 1994, he was elected to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. In 1996, he was made an honorary member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA). He received the Carlsberg Architecture Prize, Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 1999,  Praemium Imperiale (2008) and the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2009). During this interview, Zumthor talks with Jonathan Glancey about creating the Serpentine pavilion – a secluded sanctuary garden in the centre of London, away from the noise and bustle of city life.

Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s best-loved galleries for modern and contemporary art. Its Exhibition, Architecture, Education and Public Programmes attract up to 800,000 visitors in any one year and admission is free. Over the last eleven years there were eleven designs of Serpentine pavilion. Each of these was designed by world-famous architects. Last year project belonged to hero of this interview – Peter Zumthor.

The architect asked what kind of mood he hoped to evoke in this design, answers that he wanted to evoke many different emotions connected with memories. He have heard that some people said that “this sky reminds me something, this is a London’s sky anymore”. He also wanted to create a mood which could help people to forget about day-to-day economic and social problems. He wanted to create some sort of inclusion of something beautiful and quiet where is a lot of energy. He hoped that people relax in this place.
The interviewer mentions about Zumthor’s project of Thermal Bath in Vals. He thinks that Zumthor did something that a very few architects are able to do inside the building. He created the weather system which acts inside the buildings. The architect explains that he does the same thing in Serpentine pavilion, because it was designed to rain. He designed few special solutions which give a beautiful experience during the rain. The sounds of rain drops and the way in which water is flowing create a unique atmosphere in very centre of London.    
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Peter Zumthor tried to do something magical with his Serpentine pavilion. He tried in that closed space to “squeeze” nature into the small slit to make people hyper-aware of plants, sky or the birds song that comes into that pavilion. When you come out of the pavilion you can sit down under the tree in Kingston Gardens you suddenly feel free. And maybe it is what the designer wanted to achieve or maybe architects sometimes try too hard to do something that nature does for us. 

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