Swiss star architect Peter Zumthor is set to receive the 2017 grand prize from the Association of German Architects. The award, to be presented in Münster on July 1, is in recognition of his lifetime achievements.
“His consistent focus on the idea of light, material and space – plus his meticulous attention to detail and quality – give his work a timeless relevance,” the association said in a statementexternal link.
Zumthor is the first non-German to receive the prize, which has been awarded every three years since 1966.
Born in 1943, Zumthor grew up near Basel. Following an apprenticeship as cabinetmaker he studied interior design and architecture at the School of Applied Arts in Basel and the Pratt Institute in New York. He first worked in historical preservation in canton Graubünden, before opening his own architectural office in Haldenstein, Switzerland, in 1978. He was a professor at the University of Italian-speaking Switzerland’s Academy of Architecture from 1996–2008, and has also held visiting professorships at several international universities, including the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
He has received numerous prizes, including the world’s most prestigious architectural awards: Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture (1998), Japan’s Praemium Imperiale (2008), Pritzker Architecture Prize (2009), and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal (2012). In 2009 he was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.