(Photo: The Sankei Shimbun, ‘08)
Swiss architect Peter Zumthor received the 2008 Praemium Imperiale prize offered by the Japanese emperor. The prize is awarded to artists who have earned exceptional merits for advancing of the arts. According to the jury from the Japanese Arts Association, Zumthor is an extraordinary appearance within the field of architecture and he always pursued to create something culturally and socially valuable.
The jury said: “Zumthor earnestly examines the location and purpose of a building, and spares no effort in selecting the most suitable materials for it. He insists on “custom-made architecture.” After working on the restoration of historical buildings in southeastern Switzerland, he became independent as an architect. He still has his studio in the small village of Haldenstein. His works can mainly be found in Switzerland but also elsewhere in Europe. Whether religious buildings, art museums, thermal bath facilities or housing projects, they consistently give a strong sense of spirituality. Kolumba, Art Museum of the Archbishopric Cologne, which opened in Cologne last year, expresses the continuity of history from Roman times by making use of a ruined area. The use of light and shade would be equally at home in Japanese author Junichiro Tanizakiâ€™s ‘In Praise of Shadows.’”
Further 2008 laureates of the Praemium Imperiale prize are Richard Hamilton (painting), Ilya & Emilia Kabakov (sculpture), Zubin Mehta (music), and Sakata Tojuro (theatre/film).
Some of Zumthor’s architectural masterpieces:
Art Museum Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria
Saint Benedict Chapel, Sumvitg, Switzerland
Therme Vals, Vals, Switzerland
Interior Therme Vals, Vals, Switzerland
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