Wednesday23 August 2017

Peter Zumthor wins 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal

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RIBA Honorary Fellowships revealed

Peter Zumthor

Source: Gerry Ebner

Peter Zumthor

The Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has won the 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal following “hours” of debate by the jury.

Zumthor, best known for his Therme Vals in Vals, Switzerland and designer of the 2011 Serpentine Pavilion, was chosen from a shortlist of six candidates.

Angela Brady, RIBA president and chair of the honours committee, said despite the time it took the judges to come to the decision, they “got the right one in the end”.

“We debate each of the six shortlisted candidates in turn then look at their writing and their influence in acadaemia, but there wasn’t one clear person who stood out,” she told BD.

Brady said Zumthor was chosen for his “overall body of work” and said that he was one of the most influential architects from across the world for people of all ages.

The judging committee also included architects Peter Clegg, Yvonne Farrell, Adrian Forty, Niall McLaughlin and Sarah Wigglesworth.

Zumthor is currently working on his first permanent UK project The Secular Retreat, which is a modernist house made from glass and stone, set in the village of Chivelstone in Devon. The building is part of Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture series and is due to open in 2014.

Peter Zumthor's Secular Retreat

Peter Zumthor’s Secular Retreat

Zumthor was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1943 and trained as a cabinet maker at his father’s shop. He went on to study architecture at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel and at the Pratt Institute in New York.

He will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal on February 6, 2013 in a ceremony at 66 Portland Place, where the 2013 international and honorary fellowships will also be presented.

RIBA International Fellowship 2013

Brodsky and Utkin, Russia

Fabrizo Carola, Italy/Mali

Anton Garcia Abril, Spain

Gurjit Singh Matheroo, Matheroo Associates, India

Miller and Maranta, Switzerland

RCR Architects (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta), Spain

Carme Pinos, Spain

Jensen & Skodvin, Norway

RIBA Honoray Fellowships 2013

Barry Berdoll, 19th and 20th century architectural history, theory and criticism

Philip Dilley, chair of Arup

Wolfgang Feist, founder of Passivhaus

Harry Handelsman, director of Manhattan Loft Corporation

Rod Holmes, client for Grosvenor Estates

Sarah Ichioka, director of Architecture Foundation

Harry Mallgrave, director of the International Center for Sustainable New Cities, Illinois Institute of Technology

Jonathan Meades, broadcaster and writer

Jay Merrick, architecture correspondent at The Independent

Piet Oudolf, garden designer

Jill Ritblat, British Architectural Trust member

Baroness Whitaker, Labour Peer since 1999



Readers' comments (8)

  • Having done a tour of his work last year I consider him to be a very worthy winner.


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  • Awesome!

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  • Thomas Corrie

    I am surprised that Jonathan Meades would accept such an honour (although he is eminently worthy of it).

    "Architecture, the most public of endeavours, is practised by people who inhabit a smugly hermetic milieu which is cultish...Architects, architectural critics, architectural theorists, the architectural press (which is little more than a deferential PR machine) – the entire quasi-cult is cosily conjoined by mutual dependence and by an ingrown, verruca-like jargon which derives from the more dubious end of American academe."

    The Guardian, Tuesday 18 September 2012

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  • beautiful artwork for the Planning Committee
    BUT -the trees : are they existing or is it a plain field ?-new or for TP application-the sky is 'wonderful' ie full of 'wonder'- but what is the clunky black bit in the middle? because you wouldn't recognize it from the elevations on 'the secular retreat' website

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  • it would be very interesting to follow this proposal ; has anybody any details i.e location, address, Local Authority, application number, officer report etc

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  • Jonathan Meades!!!
    You couldn't make it up!

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  • Roger - the image is 'Architecture'. Once something is built then it will become just another building that has a disappointing level of finish, leaks and doesn't function very well.

    Notwithstanding my cynical comments above I do feel he is a very worthy winner. His books and images are very uplifting and remind me why I studied architecture in the first place.

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  • tesserae

    Well this will help towards raising the name of architecture!

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