Week 3: Atmospheres by Peter Zumthor

“perfectly tempered feel to his built spaces is immediately communicated to viewers,residents, visitors and the immediate neighbourhood.”

“atmosphere is an aesthetic category. ”

Reading a place, becoming involved with it, working out the purpose, meaning and goal of a brief, drafting, planning and designing a piece of architecture is therefore a convoluted process that does not follow a straightforward and linear path

Zumworth’s line of thinking when it comes to architecture seems to be non-linear in fashion, where his thought processing is finding out more about the purpose of the building, the type of people who reside in it and what type of mood that it would bring to those who enter the building. Usually architecture would appear very mathematical, logical, with proper planning in place, but I guess that is also something that is just as important as the thought processes, like how Zumworth has mentioned.

Quality architecture  is when a building manages to move a person


“I enter a building, see a room, and in the fraction of a second – have this feeling about it.

“emotional sensibilities – a form of perception that works incredibly quickly, and which we humans evidently need to help us survive.”

  • That view of seeing is already innate in us, heightened awareness of this would make us more appreciative of how first impressions work when we come across people and buildings
  • Besides appreciating, we also tend to reject things in a flash, as author described.

Compared to previous readings, the author has a very romantic perception towards buildings – by describing it as similar to how we form first impressions of people. He seems to associate it with good and bad feelings and he is very expressive in how each particular buildings makes him feel. It does point towards

The task of creating architectural atmosphere also comes down to craft and graft

The Island of The Dead Arnold Bocklin, 1880, Wendlinghausen

Swiss Sound Box, Expo 2000

Edward Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning

Edward Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning
Swiss Sound Box, Expo, 2000
The Island of The Dead Arnold Bocklin, 1880, Wendlinghausen

graft –  the acquisition of money, gain or advantage by dishonest, unfair or illegal means especially through the abuse of one’ position or influence in politics and business.


Author: Najiha

Always looking for something more.

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