Architectural Paradise

In Switzerland, high standards of urban design have created a paradise for architects.
November 28, 2005, 12pm PST | asimmons
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"In the rest of the world, cities clamour for iconic buildings, blockbuster museums and galleries, which they desperately hope will put them on the map. Our everyday surroundings, however, new houses and out-of-town shopping malls, streetscapes and utilities, are virtually untouched by architects, a saddening, immature blend of Noddy-houses and big sheds, anonymous boxes and ominous CCTV poles.

In Switzerland there are few icons. Instead, the average is executed with thought and skill, and the whole is consequently raised to a sublime where even the signal boxes are designed by world-class architects.

The reasons for this exemplary situation are worth exploring, as they may help us escape from a position in which architects are exerting, paradoxically, less influence on our environment at the same time as design consciousness burgeons.

...In Switzerland the distinction [between architecture and building] is not drawn - the whole of design, from graphics and signage to utility boxes and toys, is taken extremely seriously."

Thanks to Andrew Simmons

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Published on Saturday, November 26, 2005 in The Financial Times
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