All posts by Joe Bozeman

Kunsthaus Bregenz-Peter Zumthor

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The Kunsthaus Bregenz was designed by Peter Zumthor in 1998. One of the major modern art galleries worldwide, it is a fine example of architectural minimalism. Distinguished by its external form and its very spacious design.  Peter Zumthor’s designed the Bregenz to be a place for art and a place where people can peacefully encounter art. The outside has 712   equally sized glass panels giving it a very bright and vibrant inside at points and allowing for the amount of light to be controlled. It is a fantastic building for allowing artists to display their work how they want to.

The Therme Vals – Peter Zumthor

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The Therme Vals is a hotel and spa in one. Peter Zumthor designed the spa and baths which opened in 1996, before the rest of the hotel was built. His idea was to create a cave/ quarry like structure that blends right into the mountain. Uniquely,  the bathrooms lay below a grass roof structure half buried into the hillside. The Therme Vals is built from locally quarried Valser Quartzite slabs. This stone became Zumthor’s  inspiration for the design, and he used it with dignity and respect.

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He definitely took the mystic qualities of a world of stone within the mountain, for darkness and light, for light reflections on the water or in the steam saturated air into his design. Using these very natural aspects he crafted the environment that was spa-worthy and naturally artistic too.

“Mountain, stone, water – building in the stone, building with the stone, into the mountain, building out of the mountain, being inside the mountain – how can the implications and the sensuality of the association of these words be interpreted, architecturally?” Peter Zumthor.

The Saint Benedict Chapel- Peter Zumthor

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The Saint Benedict Chapel, located in the village of Sumvitg, Graubünden, was designed by Peter Zumthor in 1988. The modest, wooden exterior of the chapel shows the beauty and simplicity of Zumthor’s works, while the interior displays his amazing craftsmanship. The chapel was constructed in 1984 in a small village of Sumvitg because an avalanche destroyed the past chapel. The new chapel was built on the hillside by a forest which protects it from future avalanches.

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Although Zumthor used modern materials and techniques for the chapel, it blends perfectly into the natural mountain.  For example, the chapel is constructed with wooden shingles and snips, similar to the local traditional houses and multitude of trees surrounding it. The natural wood and glass allows for a vibrant array of natural colors inside the chapel which create a reverent  feeling that the chapel was looking for.

Shelters for Roman Archaeological Site- Peter Zumthor

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One of the first big projects for Peter Zumthor was this protective pavilion built to cover the remains of Roman buildings. Built in 1985-86 and located in the capital of the Swiss canton of Graubünden. Zumthor came up with a design of wooden pavilions that functions not only as a protective cover but a museum and a veritable architectural jewel. The wood shelters allow visitors to comprehend the original extent of the Roman buildings by providing a visible and physical form to distinguish the ancient remains in sharp contrast to the modern city.

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The new entrance takes place in one of the sides.More than a standard entrance for a building, it could almost look like the access to something very sci-fi-ish. In order to preserve the artifacts, almost everything avoids contact with the floor. Just a few steps up, the stainless steel door opens into a metal footbridge which runs across the interior of all the buildings at a raised observation level. This building gives off the vibe of a time machine because people enter this very sophisticated building while looking back at ancient relics . It is extremely impressive how he was able to combine the two times in his design.

Home for Senior Citizens, Chur, Switzerland – Peter Zumthor

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Peter Zumthor also designed a home for senior citizens in 1993. This long slab of two-floor apartments seems modernist but his use of materials instead of comedic paint give this home its own unique touch. The use of big windows and wood as framing give this structure a very physical appearance.

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The east facade holds two entrances to the building which are integrated into the row of double height windows. The entrance leads into a large common space that distributes the inhabitants into their personal living units. Instead of a hallway this space is more like a long living room. The cells are more like big pieces of furniture themselves since their volume and partitioning doesn’t seem to touch the ceiling and floor.

vacation homes in leis, vals- Peter Zumthor

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Peter Zumthor built magnificent vacation homes in the most peculiar location. He decided to make these homes in the Swiss Alps. In this very snowy and cold climate, Zumthor’s houses stand out because of their light and bright volumes of timber that is used. He focuses on crisp vertices as well as seemingly perfect finger joints. Although they may seem like normal cabins, his attention to precise detail make these homes exceptional.

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These homes take on a different personality each season but are particularly special in the winter. Their location is perfect for skiers because the front door is the first run. The inside of these homes is also lit up because of the wood and create a very cozy and gentle environment.

Florence Cathedral

 

The Florence Cathedral was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and named in honor of Santa Maria del Flore. This massive Gothic structure started construction in 1296 and finished in 1436. This giant church was symbolic of the power and faith of Florence at the time.

The first amazing building I saw in Italy when I studied abroad this past summer was the Florence Cathedral. The first time I saw this beautiful piece architecture my jaw dropped. I could not believe the amount of detail that had been put into a single building. Although this was just the first of many amazing sights I saw in Italy, I know that it has impacted me with the size and meticulous detail.duomo florence

Pantheon

 

The pantheon was built as a pagan temple by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 A.D. over the ruins of another temple. It was later in 609 converted into a Christian Church by Pope Boniface IV . The most recent renovation was the addition tombs of Vittorio Emanuele II, as well as Renaissance Artist Raphael.

When walking up to this giant the first most notable feature is the massive pillars and huge doors. It is only when you walk in that you realize that its focal point is its unsupported dome. I read that it is a modern marvel as to how they were able to make it with no support. I remember being humbled. This day and age we think we are just the smartest people around but if you were to take away most peoples technology and in this case, calculators. There is no chance we would be able to build something that magnificent.pantheon

Altar of the Fatherland

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This monument started in 1885 by Giuseppe Sacconi and was completed in 1925. It was built in honor of Vittorio Emanuele who was the first unified king of Italy. This building is not without controversy as to the design and resources that were used to build it. Its “corpse white marble stands out in Rome and only comparable to that of the Vatican. Which was done on purpose as the statue of Vittorio Emanuele stands defiantly towards the Vatican.

When I first saw this building I was stunned by how white and new it looked. It is giant and just like many buildings in Rome, it makes itself know by its uniqueness. I remember thinking that if this building was recently completed then we in America can still make huge, powerful and beautiful moments to this day too. This building as well as many other Italian building inspired me and filled me with awe. It is quite amazing what humans can build.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an interesting case of architecture. It is a naturally formed geological rock formation that was transformed by Burnham Hoyt to be an outside amphitheater. Red Rocks now is known worldwide by artists and concertgoers alike. Red Rocks has always created a positive memory for me. No matter what time of year, weather or artist, the environment there is amazing. After I leave it feels like just a giant celebration with everyone who went to the concert all the way back down to Denver. I have seen many concerts in all different musical genres so it is hard for me to pick out a standout. I truly believe that the atmosphere Burnham Hoyt was able to create is one of a kind.