No. 441 . 26 August 2009 
ArchitectureWeek

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Green roof of Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals spa in Switzerland blends into the montane landscape. Photo: P.C. & P.L.

Who is Peter Zumthor?

by Michael J. Crosbie

In April, about two weeks before his 66th birthday, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor was named the 2009 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Zumthor is not a household name, as many other Pritzker winners have been — architects such as Gehry, Meier, and Pei. Even many architects haven't heard of him.

But Zumthor has been described as an "architect's architect." His works are not numerous, given a practice of over 30 years, but each one is carefully crafted, materially exquisite, and atmospherically evocative.

Known as the "Nobel Prize of Architecture," the Pritzker Prize has gained a reputation of anointing architects who are already stars with high public profiles. But the Pritzker jury has on occasion selected architects who are less known outside architectural circles — practitioners such as Paulo Mendes da Rocha of Brazil and Jean Nouvel of France.   >>>

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