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Zumthor Politics

Switzerland Architecture News - Jun 04, 2009 - 16:44   5364 views

Shortly after the announcementof Peter Zumthor as this year`s Pritzker Prize winner, critics took aimat the Swiss architect`s focus on the aesthetic and experientialqualities of space and his apparent lack of politics or confrontationwith the myriad crises at hand today. Examples include ChristopherHawthorne`s assertion that"Zumthor`s work has nothing to do with social activism, disasterrelief, sustainability, new design software, mega-cities, affordabilityor infrastructure - all of which have crowded together recently nearthe top of the profession`s agenda - {his winning is} a boost for theidea that architecture is fundamentally an aesthetic rather than apolitical profession." James S. Russell calls the winnera "Swiss Hermit" and says the jury "avoids contemporary challenges" and"left me wishing it had been more adventurous." Clay Risen goesfurthest in his call to "Fix the Pritzker,"stating, "there`s a real opportunity to reorient architecture towardmore humane, socially engaged goals. Getting rid of the Pritzker—atleast as we know it today—would be a good start."