Swiss Hermit Wins Architecture Prize
Peter Zumthor is now $100,000 richer, and you probably have no idea who he is. The reclusive, introverted Swiss architect won the highly coveted Pritzker Prize. Zumthor is well-known in the architecture field – revered, even – but few know of him otherwise.
At first, little on Zumthor's resume. He's built a one-room chapel in a German farm field. A public bath and a handful of museums also bear his visual signature. Of course, an interpretive center at the size of what was once Gestapo headquarters catches a bit of attention, but that's about it. His style is austere, not what usually forces its way into the headlines.
The Pritzker jury chose Zumthor largely because this isn't the best time to reward ostentation. The Swiss architect's approach, which focuses only on the essentials, is effectively calibrated to global sentiment ... and brutal fiscal reality.
Zumthor will receive his gold medallion and check at the grand Legislative Palace of the City Council on May 29, 2009 in Buenos Aires. Look for him on the red carpet ... kidding.