Swiss architect becomes art laureate

Niki May Young
Wednesday 17 Sep 2008

Peter Zumthor wins Japanese Praemium Imperiale – the equivalent to the Nobel Prize for art

Since 1989 the Praemium Imperiale has awarded the World Culture Prize in Memory of His Majesty Prince Takamatsu. Toted as the art world’s Nobel Prize the honor has been awarded this year to Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.

Zumthor has been creating architecture of record for decades working from his own office since 1979 after studying at the Pratt studio in New York in the 1960’s. Last year he completed the Kolumba Museum in Cologne, Germany. Other works include Sogn Benedety Chapel in Sumvity, Switzerland in 2005; Shelter for Ruins in Chur, Switzerland in 1986 and Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria in 1997 which won him the Carlsberg Architecture Prize.

In congratulating Zumthor the Japan Art Association who deliver the awards 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’. ”

Previous winners of the Praemium Imperiale include Kenzo Tange, 1993; Jean Nouvel, 2001; Oscar Niemeyer, 2004 and Frei Otto, 2006.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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