12/02/2013 - The winner of this year’s RIBA Royal Gold Medal for architecture is the world renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. He was presented with the medal by RIBA President Angela Brady, in the presence of over 200 guests on 6 February 2013 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.
Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence 'either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture'.
Known for running a small yet powerful and uncompromising practice, Peter Zumthor founded his own firm in 1979 in Switzerland. His projects include the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Therme vals (thermal baths) in Vals, Switzerland, and the Kolumba Art Museum in Cologne. He designed the 2011 Serpentine Pavilion and is currently designing a house in the Devon for Alain de Botton's Living Architecture scheme.
He is exceptionally talented at creating highly atmospheric spaces through his mastery of light and choice of materials. Zumthor's buildings, such as his small rural chapels and the Thermal Baths at Vals, are an experience for all the senses, with every detail reinforcing the essence of the building and its surroundings.
RIBA President Angela Brady, who chaired the Honours Committee that selected the Royal Gold medal winner, said, 'Peter Zumthor's work renews the link with a tradition of modern architecture that emphasises place, community and material practice. His writings dwell upon the experience of designing, building and inhabitation while his buildings are engaged in a rich dialogue with architectural history. I am delighted to present him with the Royal Gold Medal.'
This year's RIBA Honours Committee was chaired by RIBA President Angela Brady with architects Peter Clegg, Yvonne Farrell, Professor Adrian Forty, Niall McLaughlin and Sarah Wigglesworth.