Ed Frith’s first taste of Peter Zumthor leaves him wanting more
Peter Zumthor, Buildings and Projects 1986 – 2007. Until 20 January, at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at
I was a Zumthor virgin before travelling with my Atelier’s students to Vals and Chur in Switzerland, and Bregenz, Austria. I had read a few passages on his work and heard the stories – he spouted poetry; played a mean table-football game and had a cat called Mimi – but I had not visited Peter Zumthor’s buildings, nor did I have an understanding of his mastery of materials and context.
At the Zumthor exhibition in his Kunsthaus Bregenz, white tables with delicate steel legs support models and drawings from 29 of the 69 projects listed as undertaken between 1986 and 2007. Thomas Durisch, a longtime Atelier Zumthor co-worker, made the selection. The first drawing is the vertical timber slatted end elevation of the Zumthor Studio (1986), a 1:10 line drawing on yellow butter paper. The final drawing is a watercolour and pencil exploration of a Memorial to the Burning of Witches in Finnmark (2007), designed with artist Louise Bourgeois.