Architecture of Silence

architect Peter Zumthor
project Houe and Atelier, Haldestein, Switzerland
written by Vera Grimmer


He wanted me to describe order in which these kinds of wood were put together, the figures they made, and whether the pattern of lines and colours had a particular charm. Also I had to talk even more about the kinds of marble in the corridor and hall, and show the way they were assembled, which kinds bordered on each other and how it made them particularly stand out.
Adalbert Stifter: ’Nachsommer’, p. 197


I am entering into a space the height of which I cannot determine, momentarily forgetting about gravity. The walls and the ceiling, covered with an undefined  maplewood pattern, make up a space of silence. At the same time, deep sounds seem to be seeping from the warm body of the contrabass leaning against a corner of the room. This room’s excellent acoustic properties would help release the full sound of the slow movements of Mozart’s piano concertos, Coltrane’s saxophone, maybe also Schönberg’s Gurrelieder. Peter Zumthor believes that modern architecture should be as radical as modern music.