Thanks to Dezeen for this video interview with Swiss architect Peter Zumthor on his pavilion at the Serpentine (a previous ouno post on Zumthor, on the occasion of being chosen to do the pavilion, is here). The pavilion opens tomorrow, July 1, and closes October 16. Zumthor is a winner of the Pritzker Prize, the world’s top architecture award. The garden itself was designed by by celebrated Dutch landscape gardener Piet Oudolf.
“My name is Peter Zumthor, Zumthor meaning “by the gate,” a nice name for an architect I think. I started out in my father’s shop as a cabinetmaker, and slowly slowly … now I’m an architect. I’m a passionate architect, and I think it’s a beautiful profession. I do not work for money. I don’t go for commercial projects, I go for projects where I can put my heart into it, and which I think are worthwhile doing.”
“Gardens have become more and more important for me, working as an architect. When I was young I enjoyed them but not really consciously. The older I get, the interest becomes more keen and I want to be close to gardens, and I want to be into the gardens, so my work reflects this kind of desire to know more about it, and to integrate the garden or maybe even make the garden as a centrepiece and the architecture just a frame.”
“I make a building which acts as a stage. The garden is in the centre, and not you, not me, and not anybody else, we are around the garden, not in the garden. I think everybody understands right away what this would mean, and many of know, have some vague knowledge that an enclosed garden — there is something beautiful about it.”
“I made this frame and asked the landscape architect Piet Oudolf to do this, and he did a marvellous job. So there was no concept discussion of “what are you going to do” and “I want to see this” and so on. I trusted him. He surprised me with this wonderful wild garden with a lot of beautiful flowers you would find on the edge of a field or the edge of woods and so on. So there’s a statement I think, or maybe there’s no statement. It depends.”
“This garden is a typological piece; it’s a type. It’s not a context piece. So in a way this kind of garden, this kind of viewing, this device, can be anywhere. Somebody buys this and puts it up somewhere else, so it cannot be a piece of the place. So this piece is sort of a more eternal piece, it comes from afar. And if you put it up somewhere else, it would have other plans, other sky, and another climate. So let’s see what happens. I think chances are good it will be put up again, and I will see then what’s in it.”