The Hyatt Foundation today announced that Peter Zumthor, the minimalist Swiss architect from Haldenstein, Switzerland, is the recipient of the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The Pritzker Prize, widely considered the highest honor in the profession, honors "a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture."
Zumthor's career has been defined by relative obscurity, certainly by comparison to other Pritzker winners. He is known for only taking on commissions for which he feels a great affinity for the project's purpose and largely avoids media attention for himself and his projects, preferring to emphasize the experiential quality of his work more than the visual quality. Among his more recognized works are the Thermal Baths, in Vals, Switzerland; Bruder Klaus Kapelle, in Wachendorf, Germany; and the Kolumba Art Museum in Cologne, Germany.
Zumthor and his work were profiled in the July 2008 issue of Contract.