ARbD’14 – Fourth International Conference on Architectural Research by Design: Unifying Academia and Practice through Research

Serpentine Summer Pavilion by Peter Zumthor, during its construction (enclosure garden: Piet Oudolf). © Susana Ventura, June 2011

On the 8th of May, I will be lecturing at the ARbD’14 – Fourth International Conference on Architectural Research by Design: Unifying Academia and Practice through Research, about “Material Experimentation in Peter Zumthor’s creative process: research design through material inquiry”.


Material experimentation in Peter Zumthor’s creative process seeks to explain the different materials experimentations present in the creative process of Peter Zumthor which lead him to the final work of architecture, resulting in his atmospheres (or the “saturation of the atom”, as V. Wolf would say). Experimentation processes are mainly characteristic of avant-gard architectures that develop new forms of thought in architecture design, however mainly through form paradigms and models. Nonetheless, Zumthor has been inquiring and creating experimental processes through material composition, rooted in the work of land-artists such as Joseph Beuys or Mario Merz, that imply the overall design of the final work of architecture. One of the several examples is how the lead floor of the Bruder Klaus Kapelle was meticulously designed carefully combining not only several processes involving the composition, amount and proportions of materials but also a peculiar way tested to the very limit how the liquid was then spilled and crystallized. The present lecture will explain several experimental processes present in a series of Peter Zumthor’s, with an important focus to the design process of the Serpentine Summer Pavilion during 2011, one of the works the author has accompanied Zumthor during its process of creation during her PhD research.

Exhibition: Habitar Portugal 09 11

Indifference in identity