Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor to Receive 41st Annual Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture at the University of Virginia

February 2, 2006 — Peter Zumthor, the internationally acclaimed architect known for an extreme attention to craft and detail, will receive the 41st annual Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture during the University of Virginia’s Founder’s Day celebration on Wednesday, April 12.

Zumthor will give a public lecture about his work on Thursday, April 13, at 1 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer the medal to Zumthor,” said Karen Van Lengen, dean of the School of Architecture and chair of the selection committee. “He is the model of the architect as artist. His work, so beautifully conceived and executed, signifies a standard that we all appreciate and aspire to in the School of Architecture.”

Having learned carpentry skills from his father at a young age, Zumthor studied design at the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of arts and crafts) in Basel, Switzerland, and afterwards at New York’s Pratt Institute in the 1960s. After working on historic building restoration projects, he founded his own practice in 1979 based in Haldenstein, Switzerland. His work includes many examples of thoughtfully crafted public architecture. “Deceptively simple – cubes, oblongs, cylinders – [Zumthor’s] buildings cannot be captured in photographs; their true essence comes from the experience of textures, the play of light, the celebration of craft and the kinesthesia of their spaces,” noted critic Richard Ingersoll in Architecture magazine.

Among Zumthor’s many celebrated designs are: Protective Housing for Roman Archaeological Excavations, Chur, Switzerland; “Topography of Terror,” International Exhibition and Documentation Center, Berlin, Germany; Gugalun House, Versam, Switzerland; and Caplutta Sogn Benedetg, Sumvitg, Switzerland. Zumthor received the 1998 Carlsberg Architectural Prize for his Kunsthaus (art museum) at Bregenz, Austria, and the Thermal Baths at Vals, Switzerland. In 1999 he was awarded the Mies van der Rohe Prize for European Architecture. Zumthor has recently accepted a commission to design the Santa Guilia church in Milan, Italy, the keystone building of the Foster & Partners 1 million-square-foot masterplan for that city. For the DIA foundation in New York, Zumthor has designed a new gallery that is to house the 360-degree I Ching art sculpture by Walter de Maria. A project for the Art Museum “Kolumba,” growing out of a historic site in the heart of the old city of Cologne, Germany, will be completed in May 2007. Peter Zumthor has taught design at SCI-Arc, The Harvard Graduate School of Design and Tulane University among many other institutions and is a professor at the Academia di architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Mendrisio.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture and its counterpart in law are for lasting contributions in fields that deeply interested the University’s founder. They are the highest outside honors afforded by the University, which grants no honorary degrees. The awards are sponsored jointly by the University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
"It is our honor to join with the University in recognizing significant achievement in the field of architecture that echoes the ideas and ideals of Jefferson," said Daniel P. Jordan, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Former recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, which was created in 1966 to recognize outstanding achievement in design or distinguished contributions in the field of architecture, include: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (the first recipient), Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breurer, Lewis Mumford, Vincent Scully, Dan Kiley, Jane Jacobs, Glenn Murcutt and James Turrell.

For more information, contact Derry Wade at (434) 982-2921 or A list of previous winners is attached.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists in Architecture at the University of Virginia

2006         Peter Zumthor, Haldenstein, Switzerland
2005         Shigeru Ban, Tokyo, Japan
2004         Peter Walker, Berkeley, Calif.
2003         Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, New York, N. Y.
2002         James Turrell, Flagstaff, Ariz.
2001         Glenn Murcutt, Sydney, Australia
2000         Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York, N. Y.
1999         Richard Rogers, London, England
1998         Jaquelin T. Robertson, New York, N. Y.
1997         Jaime Lerner, Curitiba, Brazil
1996         Jane Jacobs, Toronto, Canada
1995         Ian McHarg, Philadelphia, Pa.
1994         Frank O. Gehry, Los Angeles, Calif.
1993         Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Andres Duany, Miami, Fla.
1992         Aldo Rossi, Milan, Italy
1991         John V. Lindsay, New York, N. Y.
1990         Fumihiko Maki, Tokyo, Japan
1989         Paul Mellon, Upperville, Va.
1988         Romaldo Giurgola, New York, New York
1987         Dan Kiley, Charlotte, Vt.
1986         James Stirling, London, England
1985         Leon Krier, London, England
1984         H. H. Aga Khan, Gouvieux, France
1983         Robert Venturi, Philadelphia, Pa.
1982         Vincent J. Scully, New Haven, Conn.
1981         Edward Larrabee Barnes, New York, N. Y.
1980         Hugh A. Stubbins, Cambridge, Mass.
1979         Lawrence Halprin, San Francisco, Calif.
1978         Philip Johnson, New York, N. Y.
1977         Ada Louise Huxtable, New York, N. Y.
1976         I. M. Pei, New York, N. Y.
1975         Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, London, England
1974         Frei Otto, Warmbronn, West Germany
1973         Jean Labatut, Princeton, N. J.
1972         Lewis Mumford, Amenia, N. Y.
1971         Jose Luis Sert, Boston, Mass.
1970         Kenzo Tange, Tokyo, Japan
1969         John Ely Burchard, Boston, Mass.
1968         Marcel Breuer, New York, N. Y.
1967         Alvar Aalto, Helsinki, Finland
1966         Mies Van Der Rohe, Chicago, Ill.