In a society that celebrates the inessential, architecture can put up a resistance, counteract the waste of forms and meanings and speak its own language.
Architecture to me is whole. I cannot say I only care about this 25% and the other 75% I let go... it's just I want to work the way I want to work. In my shop, you can order certain things and other things you cannot. They are not available.
When I concentrate on a specific site or place for which I am going to design a building, I try to plumb its depths, its form, its history and its sensuous qualities.
I think the chance of finding beauty is higher if you don't work on it directly. Beauty in architecture is driven by practicality. This is what you learn from studying the old townscapes of the Swiss farmers.
I design for the use of a building and the place and for the people who use it... the reputation for arrogance comes because when work is offered to me, I look whether I can find a genuine interest in quality.
The first 10 years of my professional life had only to do with running away from my father. He was a wonderful cabinet-maker, and me being the eldest son, I had to take over his shop, his profession and so on and so on. I tried to escape by going to art school and then going on to industrial design and then interior design.
Designing is a matter of concentration. You go deep into what you want to do. It's about intensive research, really. The concentration is warm and intimate and like the fire inside the earth - intense but not distorted. You can go to a place, really feel it in your heart. It's actually a beautiful feeling.
I need a close contact to the client, whoever it is, and a commitment of the client to go out and do a process together. I want to do the best for him. I need his respect and his patience. I want to work with a sophisticated person who's interested in a good building and not in my name.
If you look at the Earth without architecture, it's sometimes a little bit unpleasant. So there is this basic human need to do shelter in the broadest sense of the word, whether it's a movie theater or a simple log cabin in the mountains. This is the core of architecture: To provide a space for human beings.
I work a little bit like a sculptor. When I start, my first idea for a building is with the material. I believe architecture is about that. It's not about paper, it's not about forms. It's about space and material.
Every time I imagine a garden in an architectural setting, it turns into a magical place. I think of gardens I have seen, that I believe I have seen, that I long to see, surrounded by simple walls, columns, arcades or the facades of buildings - sheltered places of great intimacy where I want to stay for a long time.