On 3 November, Stücheli Architekten hosted a big anniversary celebration in Zurich’s main railway station: Imagine restaurant welcomed 240 guests who were greeted by a new book, a new logo and ‘Kommissar Meier’.
‘Seventy years is a special number, but it's not exactly a traditional anniversary celebration,’ announced Christof Glaus to those in attendance. Indeed, company founder Werner Stücheli’s 100th birthday seems more appropriate. In fact, the two round numbers make a great pair, as the five partners finally concluded: If we don’t do it now, then when?
With Eva Schaub and Mathis Tinner becoming the firm’s youngest partners, the company is being handed down to the third and fourth generations. From Stücheli’s 100th birthday and the 70th anniversary to the passing of the torch to the next generation, the company had a lot of reasons to reflect on history and the future. This speculation gave birth to a new branding concept and an architecture-themed comic book, both of which were presented to the guests at the evening.
The new logo, developed by graphic designers Schätti und Lehmann, faintly resembles the very first logo of the company, whose employees are still called ‘Stüchelis’ to this day. ‘A logo that gives us a bewitching sense of familiarity on the first – as well as second and third glance – which is exactly what we aim for with our construction projects,’ said Glaus.
The firm’s buildings are never erected merely for their own sake, but always as a context for creating experiences and stories. As a result, the anniversary publication is not a traditional architecture book, but rather a story as it could have unfolded in some of Stücheli’s buildings. Because this story is somewhat complex, Kommissar Meier, alias Matthias Gnehm took over at this point to present the latest findings of his investigations in vociferous, action-packed style.
‘Imagine the possibilities with us Stüchelis,’ Glaus then concluded, giving the guests food for thought before they set off.
For once, buildings figure only as a backdrop in this book about architecture. In celebration of their 70th-year anniversary, Stücheli Architekten are publishing the architecture crime comic “The Quicksilver Painting”, with a story and pictures by Matthias Gnehm.
“Architecture not for its own sake, but rather as the setting for a variety of experiences, for stories, that give a city character. That has always been our goal,” write Stücheli Architekten in the foreword to their anniversary publication. Consequently, for once it isn’t buildings that are the focus of this unusual architecture book but rather just one among the many different stories that could have unfolded in selected buildings. Comic author Matthias Gnehm had a free hand in developing the story.
The fictitious story is full of actual historical anecdotes. Readers who want to find out more about these partly oral legends or about the buildings can look up the facts in an appendix.
The book comes with a city map that also helps readers to follow the trail of the quicksilver painting. As nearly all the 29 buildings are within Zurich city limits, that’s best done with a bicycle or an old Solex moped, which incidentally was the preferred mode of transport of the firm’s founder, Werner Stücheli.
Das Quecksilbergemälde (“The Quicksilver Painting”), by Matthias Gnehm, Published by Stücheli Architekten, 68 pages, in German language, 28 CHF, ISBN 978-3-9524658-0-6
The publication can directly been ordered from: email@example.com, +41 44 465 86 86
In celebration of our 70th anniversary, we are raffling 25 copies of our crime genre architecture comic Das Quecksilbergemälde (‘The Quicksilver Painting’). To enter into the draw, you must submit correct answers to three questions about the following unsolved case...
Zurich Wiedikon – In 1976, a ‘quicksilver painting’ suddenly turns up in Kafi Ferdinand, only to disappear again within a few days. Inspector Meier starts investigating this strange phenomenon, which happens repeatedly in a variety of locations – until, in 2016, the painting pops up in the Technischen Berufsschule Zürich (TBZ) and the story is hyped.
From November 2016 you will be able to read more about this mysterious case – which would never have happened had our firm not been founded by Werner Stücheli 70 years ago – in the architecture comic by Matthias Gnehm.
Prize draw questions:
1. What is the name of the founder of our firm?
2. In which part of Zurich is Kafi Ferdinand situated?
3. When was the TBZ (see picture) built?
Submit your answers by 30 September 2016 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sandgruben school building is a pioneer project in which traditional classrooms have been replaced by open Lernateliers (‘learning studios’). The building will be open to visitors at the opening party on 24 September 2016.
On 15 August 2016, right in time for the new school year, 570 students were able to start using their new secondary school building. The Sandgruben school building is regarded as a key development in the classroom renewal project launching in 2012 in connection with the implementation of the ‘Intercantonal Agreement on the Harmonization of Compulsory Schooling’ (HarmoS-Konkordat). Standard lessons will no longer take place in traditional classrooms but in so-called Lernateliers (‘learning studios’), i.e. open clusters, each made up of an input room, group room and atelier with individual workplaces.
This innovative concept for the design of educational space enables various lesson/learning models to be implemented. In mixed age and ability groups, students are supported in developing the learning method that is best for them.
In connection with the opening party on 24 September 2016, Stücheli Architekten will be offering architectural tours of the building (also in English). The meeting point is in the assembly hall at 2 p.m. Registration is not required.
With nearly 70 buildings and initiatives, including Zurich’s first high-rise building, the Schanzengraben promenade and a boat service on the river Limmat, the architect Werner Stücheli has decisively influenced the way the city looks today. On 10 August 2016 he would have been 100 years old.
The initial spark for his career was his successful competition entry for the design of the veterinary faculty of Zurich University, which led to the establishment of his own archi-tectural firm in 1946. Already the firm’s very first project – the Köschenrüti housing estate (1947) – was awarded the ‘Distinction for Good Buildings in the City of Zurich’. This was followed in rapid succession by increasingly prestigious commissions, including several high-rise buildings – such as the Zur Bastei office building by the Schanzengraben canal (1955), the city’s first high-rise building.
Be it in the case of the high-rises or the later projects that followed, Stücheli was never interested in creating monuments. He was more concerned with reconciling the wishes of the client with the demands of making a city worth living in. He saw architecture primarily as a service rather than a form of artistic expression: ‘I hold the view – considered heretical in certain circles – that my client should live in his house later, not in mine’.
The student accomodation Living Science is completed. In September 2016 the 404 inhabitants will move in and turn the ETH campus to a place of not only research and teaching, but also living.