The image of Swiss architecture today is still very strongly characterised by the 1990s, when it was catapulted into the global spotlight and became a model of architectural minimalism. The architects who stood for this reduced and sublimated concept of building at the time – such as Herzog & de Meuron, Diener & Diener, Peter Zumthor, Peter Märkli, etc. – are still regarded as pars pro toto for Swiss architecture, at least from an international perspective. We hear much less about the architects of the subsequent generations, who have been intervening more and more actively in the architecture debate since then.’Schweizweit’ tracks down the architecture firms that have developed over the past two decades.
“Schweizweit. Recent Architecture in Switzerland”
Novermber 19, 2016 – May 07, 2017
S AM Swiss Architecture Museum
Steinenberg 7, 4001 Basel
What and where are they designing and building, and what content and issues are important to them? The resulting exhibition provides a topography of architectural work in Switzerland that, with the surprising diversity of the presented works, uncovers the positive potential that emerges for architecture through the cultural, historical, linguistic and geographical differences that so strongly define this country’s character.
A list of over 300 names was compiled and S AM invited all those on the list to participate, sending them three questions. In response, each had to send in an image with a caption. A total of 162 architectural offices accepted and sent us their responses, which were then defined more precisely in a dialogue.
The selected images are as diverse as the reactions of the architects. What has emerged is a visual atlas of recent architectural production in Switzerland. The exhibition shows commonalities and differences in the issues, content and formal strategies that matter to Swiss architects today.
This first exhibition under the lead of S AM director Andreas Ruby reflects his vision for S AM: devoid of thresholds, contemporary, collaborative, Switzerland-wide. In future, the role of exchange and discourse, regardless of whether they accompany exhibitions or are thematically independent, will be just as important as that of the exhibitions themselves.
A Christoph Merian Verlag publication will be released to coincide with the exhibition opening, also under the title ‘Schweizweit’. ‘Schweizweit’ portrays a snapshot of the architecture production in Switzerland in the year 2016. Whilst the image of Swiss architecture, especially internationally, is still strongly characterised by the 1990s and minimalism, the current constructed reality is more heterogeneous and regionally differentiated. In cooperation with around 160 architectural practices from throughout the country a visual atlas of current Swiss architecture has been created. Richly illustrated, this book shows the commonalities and differences in the themes, content and formal strategies that Swiss architects focus on today. Each submission appears in the respective national language: German, French or Italian. All texts have English translations.