There’s Just Something About Switzerland. The Swissness of Swiss Architecture

Steven Spier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The very notion of a nation having specific or unique character traits is mostly restricted to the occasional holiday or postprandial utterance. This is certainly so in architecture or any form of cultural production where it is hardly imaginable to describe a contemporary building as British, Japanese or even Scandinavian. The one exception to this might be the architecture from Switzerland. The Swiss themselves certainly think so. Although important internationally in the 1950s (die neue Sachlichkeit), the 1970s (la Tendenza) and again over the last 15 years (die neue Enfachkeit), a survey of journalistic, professional and scholarly writing of the last 50 years uncovers a remarkable persistence in looking for the 'Swissness' of Swiss architecure and an equally remarkable consistency in the choice of (not always flattering) adjectives. What is this purported Swissness, and why has Switzerland been so occupied by it?
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-55
    JournalAa Files
    Volume59
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Keywords

    • Swiss architecture

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