One contribution at the 2012 biennale was the film on Zumthor in his Studio by Wim Wenders. It was a five minute tribute to the architect and a view into his way of life/work. It was nice to see into this famous studio and get some insights into his working methods. The problem was that this didn’t seem to be enough, the two men together created a rather pompous theatrical display, Zumthor humbly making his morning coffee, Zumthor relishing in a glass of wine and contemplating life. This all created an idea that is rather outdated; that of the white male genius in his noble retreat. Most good work is a result of collaboration between two or several people and that is what we (hence the title of our archive Social Skills) believe is the best way forward.
I really admire the work of Peter Zumthor, but I found this film to be a little discouraging… I was half expecting Will Alsop to wonder in with a cigar. There were some moments of real interest for the architect; at one point we see Zumthor obsess over a drip detail – asking a nearby colleague for his opinion of a full-size mock-up (the stuff dreams are made of!). Where the film failed was in its ignorance to the context of Zumthor’s work – his studio. Not the beautifully crafted essay in concrete, but the talented and lively staff in his employ (some of whom I am pleased to call friends).