Peter Zellner

Architect (1969)

Peter Zellner devises an architecture of fusion between context and landscape. Situated somewhere between Contextualism and Expressionism, his projects fit into the natural urban landscape to the point of becoming dovetailed in the terrain and merging with the ground (Terrain House, 1997). The materials for his projects are chosen for their capacity to alter with time, and thus blur the boundaries between nature and object, as conceived by people. The house can come about from a shift in the ground in a pleating of strips which define the frame, like the Krist Residence. But the building is never simply an extension of the landscape. Peter Zellner tends rather to lay claim to a hybrid space by upturning the usual hierarchic relation between project and site (Moto House, 1996; Jetty House, 1993-95). The project (Matta) Clark County (2009) for Clark County in Nevada likewise blends into its context, a social one this time. Like Gordon Matta-Clark’s “holes”, a grid divides the archetypal image of the suburban house. The renovation of the LTSC Shopping Mall in the middle of Los Angeles tallies with the same ambitions: recreating conditions favourable to life in a partly abandoned neighbourhood. The Toy Factory loft in Los Angeles, the furbishing of the Redcat saloon and bar at Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall, and the design of a number of galleries in the United States and Europe, for their part, explore the folds of walls and the complexity of the spatial potential resulting therefrom.

Peter Zellner, an Australian architect born in 1969, is a graduate of the Victoria Institute of Technology in Australia, and of Harvard University, where he studied under the supervision of Rem Koolhaas. In 1998 he founded his own agency, Zellner Architecture Research, which would become ZELLNERPLUS in 2004. Installed at Culver City in California, the agency designs interiors, individual dwellings, public facilities and office spaces. Zellner taught at the RMIT in Melbourne, then at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at the SCI-ARC in California. He is also an architectural critic and exhibition curator. He has published many articles and acclaimed books about the architectural implications of digital research—Pacific Edge: Contemporary Architecture on the Pacific Rim (1998), Hybrid Space (1999), Sign as Surface (2004) and Emergent: Structural Ecologies (2009).

Nadine Labedade

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