Every place we go on this trip is amazing. Switzerland was no exception- in some ways it was even better than Barcelona. It was definitely more relaxing, and driving through the landscape was like watching a movie. We took a chauffeured bus there- the cities we went to are actually pretty close to Vicenza. The landscape changes somewhat abruptly right before the border of Italy and Switzerland, we noticed this change as we passed through Como. This is a beautiful city  built around a lake, climbing up the mountains above the water. After we passed through this city the mountains became much more prevalent. At every twist on the road we saw another face of the mountain, each with its own character, with different cities forming within them in a different way, with different types of foliage or animals or water conditions or slopes or size of spaces between other mountains. It is a beautiful place.

The famous architect of Switzerland loved by UF (remember- of Italy is Scarpa, Palladio) is Peter Zumthor. He’s one of my favorites too. His work, along with Luigi Snozzi, was the showcase of our trip. Our first stop was in Chur to see Zumthor’s Edifici di protezione delle rovine romane, which is a museum to display and preserve Roman ruins found in the town.

The unfortunate thing about this museum is that it’s only open 4 days a year, and it didn’t happen to be open on the day we were there. But it was still nice to see how the exterior skin was constructed- Zumthor aprrenticed to be a carpenter and you can see how he’s really good with joints and materials, especially wood. This first stop was in the German part of Switzerland, and it was interesting to be within another culture and language. I wished my Dad was there to help me with German- I don’t know any. Also this was where we discovered how expensive Switzerland is.

The next stop was the (first) ultimate place to visit- as an architecture student of UF and as a person- in Switzerland and also on the Vicenza trip in general: THE THERME VALS BY PETER ZUMTHOR! I learned about this place in d3 from Gundersen and when he told us were would actually stay in the hotel there, I started to get really excited. That was two years ago. This building was made in 1996 and on 1998 it was listed as a protected building by the Canton Graubünden (the region it belongs to). So everyone thinks it’s beautiful and amazing, including me. The hotel of the therme was not designed by Zumthor but was still really nice, very comfortable and had beautiful views of the little town and the mountains.

day and night

We only stayed at the therme vals one night- I definitely will have to go back there. The next morning we got on the bus again. We stopped in Sumvitg to see the Chaplutta Sogn Benedetg, also by Peter Zumthor. It was very well made and hung off the side if the mountain precariously, overlooking the town below.

Soon after we made our way back into the Italian part of Switzerland. We stopped in the town Giornico to see a museum for the sculptor Hans Josephsohn, by the architect Peter Markli.

Next was Bellinzona, which was where we stayed on our last night. We got there around 6 so we didn’t have much time to see this city- we left again in the morning at 9am. We did see the old castle that had some modern renovations that put in an elevator for you to get to the top, where there is a restaurant and really nice views of the city. We also did yoga up there.

The next day was the second ultimate epitome as an architecture student at UF- we visited Monte Carasso, which according to Professor Donna, can also be called Gundersenville. It was really an amazing little town, and the most amazing thing about our experience there was that we got a tour by Luigi Snozzi, who is basically the town architect, and the reason why the tiny place has been recognized as a center for architecture. His career started there when he was asked to design a school in a given a location by a recently approved urban plan of the town. Snozzi thought the plan was a horrible way to make the city, so he told the mayor that he would design the school, only if he could design a new city plan too. The mayor said ok, and after Snozzi designed a well-liked plan for the city, as well as an amazing school that intervened in an existing convent, he became the city’s architect and a respected architect everywhere. This was in the 70’s. In an interview we read, he said that now he feels less respected by students at universities in Switzerland, but we still appreciate him. It was a highlight getting a tour of the town by him, and hearing his architectural and urban strategies.

Luigi Snozzi

The park outside the school- you can see the mayor’s house on the right

Plan of the convent with the intervening school (this was Snozzi’s first project that helped him have so much freedom as the city’s architect)

The school.

There is much more information I gathered/observed from this trip- look at my sketchbooks from Snozzi’s tour in my sketching section.

-Elaina