Saturday, July 10, 2010


This is the little town of Vals where the Thermal Baths designed by Peter Zumthor are located. Its a town of about 500 people and exudes a sense of serenity and calmness. Its amazingly picturesque!

This is the quintessential image of Vals; A small little cottage next to a beautiful stream.

Daisies are in abundance everywhere in Switzerland and Germany and they grow in small little patches.

I took this picture with my friends digital SLR, and the daylight cooperated with me for about a minute and was able to take this close up of this beautiful flower

The Thermal Baths are nestled against the side of a hill and is cladded in horizontal strips of granite stone.

The windows are strategically place to allow daylight within certain areas of the baths and frame amazing views towards the exterior.

Zumthor creates amazing window details, where the face of the window is completely flush with the exterior face of the stone cladding.

The quality of light inside the baths is very sensual and calming at the same time. It creates and atmosphere that is conducive to relaxing.

Zumthor creates a theme of have penetrating from the edges of the concrete roof slabs, and creates beams of light that change throughout the day.

The architecture creates portals that frame views to the exterior and let the user focus on a specific part of the landscape.

This is inside the steam room. A cone of light pierces the pitch black space, and the room is equipment with a citrus-lavender aroma therapy that completes the whole experience.


This is one of the churches in Chur,Switzerland. We stayed in Chur before venturing off to Vals

This is another Peter Zumthor building and its a wood shelter protecting some Roman Ruins. The ruins are the low masonry walls at the bottom of the image

This picture was taken on our way the St. Benedict chapel by Zumthor.

Approaching St. Benedict's Chapel

To the right is St. Benedicts chapel. It's a beautiful little chapel sited high within the Swiss Alps. Its amazing how it blends in with its context and the type of construction is similar to the local vernacular architecture

The interior of the Chapel. It is very simple construction but designed in a very elegant way. And the quality of light was amazing

Looking down into the valley from the chapel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A weekend in Switzerland: A Tour of Peter Zumthor

This is the Chinese beer garden inside the English Garden where the locals gather in a crtical mass to enjoy liters of beer and watch the World Cup. This was the opening match between Mexico and South Africa. This place can probably accommodate at least 4000 people. We spent the day here before our trip to Switzerland to experience Zumthor-palooza.

Our first Zumthor stop was the Kunsthaus in Bregens, Austria. This Museum has an all frosted glass facade that diffuses direct sunlight to disperse the light evenly throughout the galleries. He also uses a frosted glass suspended ceilings inside the galleries that are lit with artificial light that mimic a natural daylighting effect. The gradient of light in this museum was very powerful.

The treatment of daylight stairwells in this Museum were phenomenal.

All the gallery spaces had the same floor plan and details but the artwork in each gallery had the ability to affect the ambiance of the room. The artwork are the thin poles leaning on the walls and each one had a different poetic phrase. The brighter edges of the room is where the natural daylight is penetrating the space and the frosted suspended ceiling is diffusing and dispersing the light in conjunction with the artificial lights above the frosted glass suspended ceiling.
Its a badass lighting effect.

A close-up of the suspended glass ceiling

This gallery was a lot of fun to photograph because of how these dense glass sculptures are affected by the light and also the reflections in the floor.

I was trying to compose an image where the elements of art and architecture begin a dialogue with each other so they are seen as one subject matter and not isolated objects sitting in a gallery space.

Another interesting aspect of this building was the reflections created within the polished concrete floor. This image is capturing the daylight entering from the end of the hall and displaying its reflection in the floor

When we exited the museum the clouds started to break up so I was able to get this shot with some sky in the background to provide some contrast to the frosted glass panels.

This is the Oskar von Miller forum which is the headquarters for our study aboard group. This is a student housing project for students of the Technical University of Munich and this place is the bomb!!! I have never seen a student housing project with such amazing design and attention to detail. I love hanging out here!!

Oskar von Miller forum sawtooth double skin facade which is used to diffuse daylight as well as for natural ventilation.

This project is called Wagness III and its known as a Co-Housing project where the tenants of the building invest money before the project is designed and built. The initial invest is used as start-up funds to get the project of the ground and started. There are lots of families that live here and there is a very strong sense of community, something you don't see in the U.S.

Wagness III

After we visited Wagness, we walked to the Olympic Park which was very amazing. The Olympic stadium was design for the 1972 Olympic Games by G√ľnter Behnisch. This structure is just as amazing now as it was back then.

All of us checking out the tensile structure which is made of thousands of acrylic panels

The Olympic Tower. It is about 300 meters tall or 984 feet.

Monday, June 21, 2010


We attended the Inter-Solar trade fair in the new mixed use development in Rheim. This was the largest Solar Trade fair in the world and contained every and any solar product you could think of such as PV Panels,Solar thermal collectors, etc. And there where six more convention halls just like this one packed with vendors and businesses. It was information overload.

This is the entry hall where visitors would register and pick up tickets.

This was the clock tower adjacent to a very modern catholic church

This is a modern interpretation of a stained glass inside of the catholic church. It was impressive.

This image is looking back at the shopping center and church clock tower in Rheim. Rheim used to be the site of an old airport and has been redeveloped into a mixed use community with a large shopping area, convention center, and lots of multifamily house units.

This is one of the many housing projects.

An elementary school in Rheim. It redefines how elementary schools are designed and perceived.

Later that day we went to a organic food dispensary where they fulfill orders from customers and deliver fresh organic produce to their door step. Organic farming is subsidized by the city government to provide high quality produce to its citizens.

Fresh Organic produce. In Munich they call 'organic' food as 'biological' food. I like the terminology.

Spargel, also known as asparagus in english. And the spargel in Munich tastes amazing.

Mooooooooooooo. Where's the beef?

After a long day, I decided to relax in the English Garden.

This fountain is located on Ludwigstrasse, near a university complex.