Photographs of the work of Peter Zumthor
by Hélène Binet



Photographs of work by architect Peter Zumthor, taken by London photographer Hélène Binet, will be on show at the Gabrielle Ammann Gallery in Cologne next week.


Zumthor was named 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate earlier this year - see our previous story.

Top image and above: Brother Klaus Field Chapel


The exhibition opens on 4 September and continues until 6 November.

Above: Brother Klaus Field Chapel


Above: Brother Klaus Field Chapel

Here's some more information from Gabrielle Ammann Gallery:


Hélène Binet
'Photographs of the work of Peter Zumthor'

September 4 - November 6, 2009
Opening: September 4, 6-10 pm


Under the title 'Photographs of the work of Peter Zumthor' gabrielle ammann // gallery presents the solo-exhibition of photographer Hélène Binet. The exhibition will run from September 4, 2009 to November 6, 2009.

Above: Brother Klaus Field Chapel


For twenty years Hélène Binet has photographed contemporary architecture and co-operated world-wide with the most renowned architects such as David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelblau, Daniel Libeskind, Sauerbruch Hutton and Peter Zumthor.

Above: Brother Klaus Field Chapel


She expresses the uniqueness of architecture, lets light and shade take effect, seizes walls and openings, corners and curves, to express through the use of her camera a personal point of view.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


The photographs reflect Binet’s interpretation of the building, resulting in her work separating itself from pure documentation to a work of art.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


The exhibition at gabrielle ammann // gallery concentrates on the architecture of the current Pritzker Prize Laureate, Peter Zumthor.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


Hélène Binet has co-operated for over 10 years with Peter Zumthor and photographically recorded and also artistically interpreted all of his buildings.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


Binet’s photographs of the Therme Vals (CH) bear witness to a great poetic energy and demonstrate how nature, water and stone interact in this building.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


With the works for the Kunstmuseum Kolumba of the Archbischop of Cologne (D) she focuses on the details of architecture and the interaction of light and shadow, which give this building a very special charm, and which Binet makes visible.

Above: Thermal Bath Vals


For the first time world-wide works are shown of Feldkapelle für den Heiligen Bruder Klaus, Mechernich Wachendorf (D).

Above: Kolumba Art museum of the diocese of Cologne


Hélène Binet was born in Geneva, studied photography in Rome and lives and currently works in London. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions.

Above: Kolumba Art museum of the diocese of Cologne 


In Autumn/Winter 2009 a book will be released by Phaidon Publishing House documenting her past completed works.

Above: Kolumba Art museum of the diocese of Cologne 


Above: Kolumba Art museum of the diocese of Cologne 

Posted on Thursday August 27th 2009 at 12:09 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Justas


  • ryan

    photos are beautiful. his work is hard to capture in a photograph.

    i only with there were photos of the approach to the bruder klaus chapel – it seemed to me to be one of its most powerful aspects

  • One of my favorite architects, and one of my favorite architectural photographers… Made my day!

  • Ben

    Outstanding architecture and photography. It’s good to have these people around.

  • *MIRTEC*

  • dha

    great architecture, nice photos..

  • patrick

    ….awesome beautiful

  • Kong

    Aestethic pictures ,but to me they reveal the dead, static aspect of Zumthors Architecture.
    You can call it contemplative if you like Zumthors Architecture, but i feel like in the end it is just very, very static, kind of dull and restrictive to the user.
    Another thing about Zumthor: I hesitate to call him an architect. I think he is a very good craftsman, but he keeps dodging projects in urban context as well as contemporary building methods and projects where budget is an issue. These topics are what makes architecture challenging and produces Architecture that generates an interest that is going beyond the building as a singular object or fetish. In an attempt to take on those challenges in Berlin, Zumthor failed.

    • What about the kolumba museum, the old persons home and the roman archaelogical remains building, they all have urban contexts?

  • boby

    Nothing compare to those exmples!..

    Good photos!

  • angry catalan

    I kind of agree with Kong. I find Zumthor’s talk about phenomenology a little bit arrogant – as if his buildings were designated to be “The Great Zone Of Perception” (as opposed to Toyo Ito’s idea of phenomenology as mixing what goes on inside the building with the seductions of the city.) However Zumthor has actually produced some urban works of interest. In the end Zumthor only does what he feels he can pull off, which I guess is very honest…

  • Richie

    Sure, his carefully handpicked projects can seem something like jewel boxes that are isolated from the real problems of the world, but I prefer to see them more as examples or prototypes for others to learn from. It’s a specific type of architecture that’s about purity of craft and the simple interaction between materials and the senses, and I think it’s okay for some architects to be experts at one thing that they keep refining instead of being an ‘all rounder’.

  • Roka

    i think it would be rather scarry to swim inside of that block of stones eventhough it represents a beautiful architecture

  • Ooioo

    Kong what are you talking about? Have you been to a zumthor building? They are all about people moving freely within them. You idiot. They for the most part highly urban buildings.

  • bodkin

    zumthors work would be my answer to all the comments on

    have an idea, construct it, use it

  • dalstonrosi

    Helene Binet’s photo’s are always a treat. So is Zumthor’s architecture.

  • Kong

    Hey Ooioo my friend,

    yes i have been to to a couple of Zumthor buildings , and i still do not think they are all about people movin freely within them. They are about people movin through in awe and respect for the nice craftmanship they are executed with. That is a quality i would not deny, although not one i personally value that much. Highly urban ? Take Koolhaas ( Like him or hate him ) as the other end of the line and you have a highly urban building, that is about free movement.
    How come you got through with calling me an idiot,my posts never show, when i assault other people.

    You really think they are about free movement and urbanity? You have a weird perception of architecture.

  • ryan

    post-modernist (most likely- though they never liked to be called that) arrogant critics have an even less important role in the world than traditionalists.

  • Jerrold

    zumthor is one of the embodiments of what is called Architecture. in fact, he may be the only one living who represents it. what he writes and says is almost as interesting as what he creates.

    mies van der rohe, le corbusier, frank lloyd wright, luis barragan, louis kahn embodied this spirit too. to a lesser extent are others- oscar niemeyer, yoshio taniguchi, tadao ando…

  • ujo

    way to go kong, level up the argument.
    But I’d bring to discussion some controversy about “urban context”. Has it not the urban concept been broadened to all urban dwellings? I say it’s a matter of understanding environment issues to accommodate knowledge and culture in a most democratic way. I personally admire the craftsmanship of Zumthor’s work (or Zumthor’s crew of masters). Here in São Paulo this kind of work is cheap, actually, as we do not value our own labor.
    I like to think the result is in another level of importance if compared to economical costs. But it looks, indeed, as an oasis.

  • heath


  • erj

    I think I’m in love!

  • d o

    free movement?! give it up ! everything in
    nature is moving… answering to Mr Kong’s
    misuse of the words, and his referencing Rem
    Koolhaas, the ex-journalist, as the master
    ‘mover & shaker’ of tectonics, are you
    really sure you know what your talking about?
    a shadow has movement, and as every nuance,
    it supports urbanity by creating depth & void…
    graffitti also creates movement; and likewise it has
    been a device & generator for
    the making & movement of architecture…
    a simple shed, on the outskirts of a small town,
    adds as much to urbanity, as a highly anticipated
    drag-queen show coming to the neighborhood !
    instead of commenting on photos and images,
    and guessing what you think you known regarding the
    conditions of making real architecture…
    go and travel, and then try and adopt some of the
    crap being written here and attempt
    to make something useful, instead of the stupid comments.
    Unless you’re dealing with the demands of the
    Client, and the Client’s or City’s money, you
    have little or no idea what really shapes architecture
    and the building of a city. Forget the rhetoric and
    posturing taught in schools, and go spend some time
    with a farmer, or a transport company if you
    want to debate movement & urban planning.
    And… As for the comment Peter Zumthor
    hand picking his projects… why not? !
    If an architect gets-off attending public meetings and
    doing Hospitals and Shopping Centers, go for it!
    Some of us make our living by giving our Clients
    creative acts of imagination. As a built work! Every project
    has it’s constraints, budgeting issues, requirements,
    etc., regardless of how or what it looks like in the
    end (that’s after completion) & which every designer
    or architect working today has to decide or choose how
    to handle. Mr Zumthor happens to be a rare talent who
    has choosen what he wants to do with his life, and
    takes what is given, and turns it upside down.
    Unfortunately, too few architects are willing to
    suffer through the same risks & details. And this then explains
    why textbook schooling of a bygone era is still in
    vogue, and still being taught, as it is understood as the
    ‘way things should be done’. Aka : standardization
    of mechanics and methodologies.
    Any time and everytime, someone attempts to
    rattle the status quo, the house lights cone on, and
    the town hall meetings begin… We live in the
    21st century, yet we are still cloning the 19th & 20th
    by supporting & pushing irrelevent issues which
    actually pertain to a vacant era of time and space…
    Why? Because familiarity is safe!
    So then, when do we give up the useless writings
    about shape and the stylization of things, and
    eventually move into and preoccupy the present
    moment ? I bet… never…

  • tanya telford – T

    Kong – “They are about people movin through in awe and respect for the nice craftmanship they are executed with”

    I know, for one, I wouldn’t walk into this building and think “nice bit of craftsmanship”, im pretty sure my first thoughts would be “amazing atmosphere”, and “beautiful & subtle light”,

  • Juampi Z

    BRAVO d o!!!!!

  • Kong

    d o ,

    Man, you are one generic poet. Graffiti moves if you do a wholetrain ! Shadows really do move ? i was always wondering how those old sun clocks were working, thanks for the enlightment.

    “a simple shed, on the outskirts of a small town,
    adds as much to urbanity, as a highly anticipated
    drag-queen show coming to the neighborhood !”

    First of all that is exactly: “the rhetoric and
    posturing taught in schools” And it says : nothing.

    Why would i want to talk to a farmer about urbanity ?

    “Unless you’re dealing with the demands of the
    Client, and the Client’s or City’s money, you
    have little or no idea what really shapes architecture
    and the building of a city”

    Exactly what i was critizising about Zumthor, hey, man we actually seem to have the same opinion.

    I don t know what made you unhappy with the world. But if you want to call other comments stupid you should deliver some clear arguments why you think so. Generic Philosophy and sharing your disappointment with mankind may have been advised to you by your psychiatrist, but it doesn t serve for an architectural discussion.

    Get a life !

  • Kong

    To Jerrold,

    Congratulations to your clear picture of the world. How about that: I do not consider Tadao Ando to be a great architect. Because i strongly believe architecture is not about shaping light and the beautiful haptic sensation of a concrete texture, but once again about urbanity, creating and dealing with contradictions ( moneywise , clientwise, culturally ), incorporating contemporary technology and being pragmatic, then have nice surfaces and lightning as the icing on the cake. Toyo Ito is one guy who is mastering to get all those issues together to form great projects, in my opinion.

    To all the Zumthor lovers i am just expressing my opinion, RELAX ! He got his Pritzker Price, what more do you want ?

  • gaque

    im with kong on this one for sure. i went to a lecture of zumthor and somebody asked him a question. his reply?…

    “i dont answer questions like that. why i do something is very personal, i dont explain why i do things”

    then the question and answer session ended abruptly and everyone went home.

  • highwater

    i am distressed that zumthor won the pritzker. don’t get me wrong, i love his work and am moved by the photos in this posting. but the pritzker is the profession’s HIGHEST honor, and i think it be awarded to someone who has advanced the profession and made substantial contributions to the real world. zumthor’s work, while beautiful, has not advanced the profession. he hasn’t made truly significant contributions in sustainable design, to issues of urbanity, or discovered new uses for new materials/structures. and his body of work is too small and for the most part too rural to have impacted a significant number of average people. as a profession, our highest honor should go to someone who has convinced the general populace that the work we do is relevant and valuable. so, yes, zumthor deserves awards and a lot of them. but not the pritzker.

  • jan

    Lots of opinions, you silly unions.

  • leandro locsin

    polemics can be done professionally, its a situation that any end of a string couldn’t determine whether he’ll turn out to be the ‘fool’ or otherwise. thats why a peaceful, open-minded discussion should be done.

    i appreciate everyone’s passion for the discipline, though harsh… its good that somebody cares or bothers about architecture and its impact.

    i think zumthor deserved the pritzker, he is a clear headed architect who does his architecture with a clear soul, single powerful strokes that opposes the current stylistic approach of architecture with all the bling blings! fashions and graphic mojos. his architecture is very tactile and of course very personal. though his architecture is not something new and has been done by many architects before him, his works are eternal, straight forward, and with no fancy, sugar coated words.

    old methods but very effective. human-oriented but not complexity addressing. absolutely not contemporary but emotionally moving.

  • smu

    Amazing views, excellent work. I wonder which camera did she use?.

  • f

    Okai, let’s try rebutting all you Urban Supremists with one single example – the Thermal Bath.

    If you do not reside in Vals, you do not truly understand the impact of the bathhouse on the people. It’s not just about beautiful looking pieces of stones stacked in an orderly manner. It is a public piece of work, it brought tourism to the small town, it brought a new culture to the people. This IS an urban approach to the concept of bathhouses, while still managing to retain i’s spiritual and cultural significance. You may argue that Vals is well, too rural to consider it as a city, hence this project is just a rural piece of less important architecture. So then, I don’t get it… what exactly is your idea of urbanism? It seems rigidly defined by statistics and human-constructed boundaries, but really, urban projects can happen anywhere, whether Vals or Manhattan. It is urban, because of design approach and strategy, NOT because of context.

    And to those who are truly, sincerely concerned about sustainability… Sorry, I need to ask again.. What is your definition of sustainable architecture? Because I see this bathhouse being utilised by the residents for decades to come, but jeez, just because there are no solar panels it’s not sustainable? For me, sustainability is about permanence. Yes, you may approach it technologically such that your building eats what it breeds, hence it is sustainable in that sense. But there is another aspect of sustainability that I believe is being clouded by all these hit-tech gadgets – which is very simply vernacular architecture. Using local materials and resources/skills, reinventing traditional wisdoms about efficient architecture… For me, Zumthor represents the highest form of sustainability. He is being true to each individual site, each individual cultural context. I really don’t care if the air-conditioning you chose is the most energy efficient. What I care is whether your monstrosity of a building is able to dwell in a site for long, in a manner that is unobtrusive and harmonious.

  • Kong, I mostly agree with you. Zumthor is a fetishist, and if anybody wants to argue otherwise they would be foolish, as even he admits so in his writing.
    I also think that every architect is ought to have a choice of what they could build. However, just like actors that only pick action or chick flicks, architects that do bread-and-butter work, never get to exercise their abilities to construct monuments of architecture. I bet that just like a good actor who can easily play a shitty role, a world class architect like Zumthor or Ando, could do a mall in a heart beat.
    I do agree that it is a shame that great architects like Zumthor stick only to “pornographic” architecture as they deprive most simpletons of the joy of beautifully thought out malls and other such “mundane” structures.
    Also, a comment has been brought up about the “urban context”. If one wants to avoid fruitless arguments than one must explicate what they really want to say clearly. What I’m referring to is the use of the term “urban context”. This term is not a finite condition but a matter of degree and many variables; urban context could be described by varying density, demographic qualities, ethnicity, history and many other variables. Therefore throwing that kind of a term out there simply begs for the next person in line with a different idea about what the term means, to begin mumbling something irrelevant.
    Zumthor’s works aren’t USUALLY located in a densely populated areas and USUALLY don’t intend on satisfying demands of great circulation or crucial pragmatic functions. They are usually “optional” lanterns of culture and they are great to have around. But that’s all Usually. And those kind of mundane projects are not his strongest suit, and I would be surprised if he was able to do that kid of a job better than Rem who specializes in such a subject.

    The photos above are strong and seductive. However, the depict 0% of the phenomenological experience that Zumthor has intended. Zumthor is a phenomenologist and a successful one. However, that approach to architecture is, by definition, inexplicable in any other form but though inhabitance. Therefore the works above should really, only be looked at as works of photography rather than architecture.