Memories like these contain the deepest architectural experience that I know - Peter Zumthor Buildings that have a strong impact always convey an intense feeling of their spatial quality. The writer, secluded in the Swiss mountains, is a sensible narrator with great vigor of mind unencumbered by modern life, yearning for the real whether it is in nature, sculpture or literature. A humanist with a gift for a detailed recollection of mental images that are now used as inspiration. Similarly troubled and invigorated by the constant memories of the past, Thinking architecture is a melancholic tale of the sensual impressions of materials, observations on personal experiences and the acultural appreciation of commonplace details. Within his own search of beauty and spatial quality, construction seems to resonate best with his impressions of the world.
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On the other hand, it is a collection of spatial impressions; absorbed moods and design approaches. It is also a book about the presence; the absence and about the act of remembering and observing as a device for triggering human emotions. Zumthor writes books in the same way he designs buildings: by creating a highly atmospheric experiences.
It is part of thinking. Associative, wild, free, ordered, and systematic thinking in images, in architectural, spatial, colorful, and sensuos pictures- this is my favorite definition of design. It generates a place. Where it stands, there is a back and a front, there is a left and a right, there is closeness and distance, an inside and outside, there are forms that focus and condense or modify the landscape.
The result is an environment. But there are limits. Architecture has its own realm. It has a special physical relationship with life. I do not think of it primarily as either a message or a symbol, but as an evelope and background for life which goes on in and around it, a sensitive container for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for the concetration of work, for the silence of sleep.
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Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor
File:Zumthor Peter Thinking Architecture 1999.pdf