I am Working on Substance, I am not Workin on the Form

architect Peter Zumthor
written by Višnja Brdar, Krunoslav Ivanišin


Interviewed in Haldenstein, May 3rd 2004


ORIS: One summer day last year, while walking along Stradun in Dubrovnik, we were speaking about your book Thinking Architecture. That same evening, when we unexpectedly met you in the old city, can you imagine how we felt? What a remarkable coincidence to meet the author of this inspiring little red book.


Zumthor: But this is not a question.


ORIS: No, this is more like an introduction. We are getting to the question. Reading your book, meeting you, experiencing such pleasure from visiting your buildings, coming to your office here in Haldenstein, we got obsessed in a way. We were trying to follow your train of thought. What we found appealing was that your architecture is so much about feeling and emotion. So our first question is, why did you call your book Thinking Architecture; why didn’t you call it Feeling Architecture?


Zumthor: It was contrary to my mind at that time. If I think about it now, it started with doing architecture and thinking about what I was doing, so that was the idea. Rasmussen wrote about Experiencing Architecture forty years ago, and he was essentially talking about the same thing. To call it Feeling Architecture would be bordering on kitsch.