Monday, July 13, 2009


Early last week, my very first at EPFL, a group of architecture students (including myself) gathered in Neuchatel to celebrate the unveiling of the “Fantastic Form Pavilion”. Part of NIFFF, the city’s annual International Fantastic Film Festival, the pavilion, it’s design, fabrication and assembly, are a capstone project of the Digital Design + Production class at LAPA (Laboratoire de la production d'architecture). As fascinating as the pavilion was, this event gave me an excuse to explore a small town that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

The "Fantastic Form Pavilion", Neuchatel

Neuchatel's conservatorium (by Bauart Architekten)

Wandering about in Neuchatel’s medieval streets, like in so many other cities across Switzerland, one is bound to encounter pleasant surprises of excellent contemporary architecture, always hidden, humbly complementing its existing historical surroundings. This is the case for the town’s brand new conservatorium and for numerous carefully crafted infill projects in Lausanne and Geneva to only count the south-western Swiss cantons.


This, in a nutshell, is why Swiss design is so unique. It’s never a centerpiece, but always a naturally equal part of an existing whole, as if it was always there, but yet boldly defying tradition and conformity. There to serve specific functions in the most efficient manner, but always producing an added value for the benefit of the greater public.


As it turns out, in Swiss cities, it’s not necessarily the shortest way between two points that offers the most satisfaction. Go ahead, wander off, you are guaranteed to be pleasantly surprised.


1 comment:

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