Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum extension, City

Swiss concrete construction is the best in the world and Christ & Gantenbein is one of the top Swiss studios designing with the powerful material. Its 2016 extension to the Swiss national museum – an 1898 structure inspired by the historicist frippery of chateaux – is a starkly beautiful addition. Cheeky nods to the original structure abound in the angular extension, where vaulting and Corinthian columns are cast in pale concrete. The museum houses some of the most important cultural objects of Swiss national identity from before the Middle Ages through to the present day.

2 Museumstrasse, 8021, Kreis 1 
+41 (0)44 218 6511 

Doldertal Apartment Houses, Hottingen

These apartments are the work of two notable modernist architects: Sigfried Giedion as client and Marcel Breuer as designer, along with Alfred and Emil Roth. They perch on a slope and the large windows and balconies provide sweeping views of the city. The identical white Doldertal Houses are a 1930s vision of upper-middle-class living and a democratic expression of open-plan, sparelined design. The steel frame of each structure is fleshed out with stucco walls and concrete floors.

19 Doldertal, 8032, Kreis 7

Kantonsschulen Freudenberg, Enge

If you find postwar architecture dreary and forbidding then you would do well to visit the Kantonsschulen Freudenberg, the masterpiece of the Swiss architect Jacques Schader. Built between 1954 and 1961, the complex is made up of concrete-framed cuboids that sprawl over a slope. The geometric forms are concealed at various levels and every room has large-scale windows on two or more sides that look out over tree-speckled lawns. 

Since 1987 the Kantonsschulen Freudenberg has been listed as a national monument and it was once dubbed “Zürich’s Acropolis” by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung . Home to two schools, it’s usually closed to the public but it’s open for tours during the city’s annual Open House weekend.

15 Gutenbergstrasse, 8002, Kreis 2 

Images: Marvin Zilm, Alamy


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