thinking architecture
25 August 2009, 11:00 pm
Filed under: architecture | Tags: , , ,

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“We spent years developing the concept, the form, the working drawings of our stone-built thermal baths. Then construction began. I was standing in front of one of the first blocks that the masons had built in stone from a nearby quarry. I was surprised and irritated. Although everything corresponded exactly with our plans, I had not expected this concurrent hardness and softness, this smooth yet rugged quality, this iridescent gray-green presence emanating from the square stone blocks. For a moment, I had the feeling that our project had escaped us and become independent because it had evolved into a material entity that obeyed its own laws.”

-Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture

I’ve definitely had a similar experience seeing built works; materials seem to take on a life of their own, which is pretty incredible. This was a really excellent and enjoyable book (not to mention a very fast read). My only criticism was that it was a collection of essays/lectures- each simple, succinct and poetic, but sometimes unsatisfying. The “Teaching Architecture, Learning Architecture” essay is also a favorite. It’s challenging to remember life before architecture school, how your first project was presented to you, what you brought from your own background, how you began, how you might communicate to a new student.

One of these days I’ll make it to one of his buildings.


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