Born in Basel in 1943, raised in Oberwil, Baselland. Trained as cabinetmaker, 1958-62, at the shop of his father Oscar Zumthor, and as designer and architect, at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel, 1963-67, Vorkurs und Fachklass as well as at the Pratt Institute, New York. As from 1967, employment as building and planning consultant and inventarisator of historical villages with the Department for the Preservation of Monuments, Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland; in addition the realisation of some renovations. In 1978, establishes his own architectural practice in Haldenstein, Switzerland. Visiting professor at Southern California Institute of Architecture, SCI-ARC, Los Angeles, 1988; at the Technische Universität Munich, 1989, and at the Graduate School of Design, GSD, Harvard University, Boston, 1999. 1996-2008 professor at the Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana, Mendrisio.