Excerpt | On Atmospheres

what do we mean when we speak of architectural quality? it is a question i have little difficulty in answering. quality in architecture does not - not to me anyway - mean inclusion in architectural guides or histories of architecture or getting my work into this or that publication. quality architecture to me is when a building manages to move me. 

there are plenty of buildings like that i remember, not done by me, but which have touched me, moved me, given me a sense of relief or helped me in some way. it increases the pleasure of my work when i imagine a certain building being remembered by someone in 25 years' time. perhaps because that was where he kissed his first girlfriend or whatever. to put that in perspective: that quality is far more important to me than the idea that the building will still be mentioned in architectural reference works in 35 years. that's a different level altogether, and one that does not help me to design buildings. that is the first transcendent level in my work: the attempt to conceive of architecture as a human environment. perhaps - and i suppose i'd better admit this - perhaps it has something to do with love. i love architecture. 

zumthor, p. (2006) atmospheres