Lighting the blue touchpaper and building well
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This is one of two papers examining the reasons why contemporary Swiss architecture is consistently of international quality and held in such high regard (the other being 'Seeking the Real: The Special Case of peter Zumthor'). Swiss architecture has long been known for the high quality of its construction as well as its understated architectural presence. The reasons for the former are manifold and while this paper touches on them, it primarily looks at how that affects the design process. It does so by case studies of three different types and generations of practices in German-speaking Switzerland--an important emerging practice, a well-regarded and established one, and a world-class architect. Through face-to-face interviews the offices’ principals describe how they begin to design and how being able to build well effects their approach. A variety of themes emerge, including cultural relationships and trust, internationalism, craftsmanship, problem solving, involvement with the realisation process, authorship, collaboration and intuition. Particularly telling are the lessons learned from their individual experiences in building in Switzerland and in Germany.