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

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Spier, Steven (2009) There’s Just Something About Switzerland. The Swissness of Swiss Architecture. AA Files, 59 . pp. 51-55. [Journal article]

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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?

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Swiss architecture
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment
Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment > The Belfast School of Architecture
ID Code:13289
Deposited By:Professor Steven Spier
Deposited On:27 Apr 2010 10:55
Last Modified:15 Jun 2011 11:09

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