For decades, Switzerland’s top architects have produced spaces that skilfully blend their context with innovative and functional design. And so it continues, as a pioneering new generation builds on the traditions of its forebears, creating structures that privilege simplicity and discretion.
New Swiss Architecture celebrates this new generation by profiling some 50 architectural projects from the past ten years.
Switzerland’s young crop of architects ‘experiment, copy, take references from an international field and translate them against a Swiss background, all in an ambitious quest for an independent position,’ writes Hubertus Adam, director of Basel’s Swiss Architecture Museum, in his introduction to the book.
Take the stacked form of AFGH Architekten’s Lake Rotsee Refuge, which sits like a sculpture above the lake, yet blends with its woodland backdrop.
Other practices take cues from Swiss tradition while giving it a new spin. Staufer & Hasler Architects’ concrete fire house in Opfikon, for example, is an abstract take on the houses in nearby Zurich.
Divided into six themed sections (recreational, alpine, suburban…), the book whisks readers through a wealth of elegant rural retreats and inspiring urban developments, taking in structures from both the most remote parts of the country and its busiest hubs.
From the imposing Leutschenbach School by Christian Kerez, to the futuristic new hall for Messe Basel by Herzog & de Meuron, and the iconic Villa Vals – a home dug out from the mountainside by Christian Müller Architects and SeARCH – the book celebrates skilful design through remarkable photography.
As editor Natalie Herschdorfer acknowledges, photography has long been an ‘ally’ of architecture. ‘Since the invention of photography, architecture has been an obvious subject; the accuracy of detail and the relative speed of execution offered by this medium accorded it an immediate success.’
This natural affinity makes New Swiss Architecture a visual feast.