P. Zumthor Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover

Peter Zumthor,

Pavilions, Sport & Wellness,

Cement, Wood,

"Each material has its own specific expressive language": Adolf Loos' famous words express the basic principle behind Peter Zumthor's architecture, because, as the architect says, "in each of my works, each material has laid down its own laws... Projects are born out of an idea, and in my case this idea is always accompanied by a material. I can't imagine a method of design in which the architect first decides on the form, and then on the materials".

P. Zumthor Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover And he adds: "Much of my design method consists in simply listening to the material I'm using, paying attention to its needs. In Spanish, wood - madera -, mother - madre - and material - material - are similar words".

The flooring makes no concession to formalism either: simple cast concrete, with no colour added; nor do the scarce furnishings, made of glass and cortén: but the evenness of the smooth, bluish surface of the concrete has the effect of further enhancing the vibrant rosy hues of the wood, its characteristic soft material impact, which the absence of true ceilings makes even more fascinating and evocative.
The building's aesthetic fascination is also a result of the modular textures of the continuous, regular chiaroscuro effect of the wooden boards and the gaps between them, which draw a horizontal score contradicted on the inside by the height of the dividing walls.
On the outside, though, the rigorous jutting lines of the metal elements which partially cover the pavilion underline the presence of the accesses, conceived as vertical slits running the full height of the building in an obvious homage to Wright.
The few covered spaces are lit by lines of great formal purity, for the light fixtures are rows of simple cortén tubes handing from the ceiling.
The result is a harmonious, balanced architecture in which the theme of stacked wood is a continual reminder of the building's ephemeral vocation.
There is a conceptual reference to Le Corbusier's architecture, to his concept of a space which is both functional and aesthetic, along the lines of an architecture "of silence, which speaks without shouting, without big gestures... because the things that last are the things which best fulfil their mission. This is the root of the need not to disturb, of the pleasure of silent forms, of their simple existence, until they become, I hope, an integral part of the essence of a place."

Elena Franzoia

Susswinkel, 20
7023 Haldenstein (CH)
tel. 0041.81.3549292
fax 0041.81.3549293



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