Peter Zumthor recipient of the 2006 Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award

The 2006 Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award has been presented to the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.

A valued architectural thinker, writer and teacher, Zumthor made his breakthrough in the architectural media at the end of the 1980s with the protective structure he designed for the Roman ruins in Haldenstein, his own atelier, and the small chapel situated amidst an impressive alpine landscape in Sumvitg. In all these buildings, wood has been used in a traditionally wise but yet new and innovative way. For the general public, Zumthor’s best-known wooden structure is probably the Swiss pavilion for the Hanover World Expo in 2000. In his latest works, Zumthor has studied the application of the traditional log frame to contemporary architecture.

Zumthor was chosen by an international jury of architects including Mikko Heikkinen (Finland), Carl-Viggo Hoelmebakk (Norway), Sarlotta Narjus (Finland), Jri Okas (Estonia), and Unto Siikanen (Finland).

Chairman of the jury Mikko Heikkinen, stated that, “Even in Finland we talk about “Wow” architecture. The buildings are expected to astonish the viewer. I’m convinced that this is exactly the type of work that Peter Zumthor creates, with a whole spectrum of emotional range. However the impression left by his works is a long-lasting one. In his works, Zumthor constantly reinvents the building and it is done without the sole purpose of wanting to create something new and dazzling. Paradoxically enough, the result always returns to the tradition, to the archetypes of building. Each building by Zumthor is like the one-metre Iridium Model, with which the architects of the world have to measure their own creations.”

Peter Zumthor will give an open lecture on his architectural process on Friday, September 29 at the Cable Factory (Kaapelitehdas) Pannuhalli in Helsinki at 3:00pm. Admission is free.

The work of Zumthor is contained in Peter Zumthor, Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2006 published by the Wood in Culture Association through Building Information Ltd. (Rakennustieto). For more information on the book, please visit

The Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, established in Finland by the Wood in Culture Association, is granted every second year for architectural excellence to a person or a group of persons. The Award of EUR 50,000 has been made possible by the support of the Finnish Forest Foundation.

Past Spirit of Nature Architecture Award Recipients include: Italy’s Renzo Piano in 2000, Japan’s Kengo Kuma in 2002, and Australia’s Richard Leplastrier in 2004.