Maybe those of you who play tennis, you know. You have to concentrate on the ball. If you start to think just for a moment, “Oh, my friend is looking at how I play,” then you are lost, right? You have to keep this total concentration on what you want to do. This is one thing. The other thing is you have to be loose. Now, I’m talking about myself. I should say I have to be loose. I go to the place. I listen to the client. I walk around. I hang around. I’m not going to do research.

When I start to do research, I’m really bad. This I know from studying. No research. You are just hanging out, listening, feeling, having the place resonate a little bit. And then all of a sudden, ideas come naturally. I don’t know when and where. I think this is a very natural process. Everybody—all of you, all of us—we experience this. And what I discovered was that when I have these feelings, it is like being a boy again. All of a sudden, I think this is me when I was 10 years or 12 years old. I’m dreaming. I’m there and something comes to me, but it’s not, of course, naïve dreaming. Everything, which is part of my biography, is there. But it’s not there as a research product or as reference material. It went into me, as part of my life. Then it comes out from somewhere—from my emotions or whatever, my feelings.

So, I’m at the same place as at the time when I experienced architecture as a boy without knowing it. This is what I love. These beginnings, these moments of the beginning. And then comes the really hard task when I have to take care that nobody destroys my first image. Because, as you know, we’re doing a job as architects. We are surrounded by politics, by laws, by money, by clients who have weak moments, and all these things. Sometimes people want to take away or harm my image, my baby. So, this needs a little bit of persistence. Maybe that’s where my reputation comes from that I’m a stubborn guy, which I’m not, of course.

As I get older, I think I got some kind of a… I’m sort of secure that I can do this—be a boy, and in being a boy and dreaming, doing something. Then I say, “When I like it, you will like it, too, because I’m not so special.” Now comes this moment when I get this prize. And I think now, and I start to feel that dreaming becomes even easier. Maybe I can. You help me to go on dreaming even stronger. Thank you.”

> Peter Zumthor’s Pritzker Prize acceptance speech
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