Built over the last 5 years, my list of Architectural Landmarks in Switzerland now documents over 350 projects using both photo galleries and descriptions.
While most of us associate Switzerland with snow-capped mountains, it is also home to some spectacular art and architecture. With a population of 8.6 million, Switzerland has over 1000 museums and both historic and modern theaters and concert halls.
Interesting architecture can be found not only in its largest cities of Zürich (among the world's principal financial centres), Geneva (home to many international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, WHO and the UN) and Basel (renowned for its pharmaceutical industry) but also in the countryside.
Basel Messe
Therme Vals
Grisons, Switzerland's largest canton, located at the border with Liechtenstein, exemplifies this well: its capital, Chur, is home to many museums; both Davos​​​​​​​ and the Bündner Herrschaft are of literary fame respectively through Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and Johanna Spyri's Heidi, and in the Surselva one can relax in beautiful Therme Vals. Even in its relatively remote valleys Val Bregaglia and Val Poschiavo, buildings designed by famous architects are to be discovered.
One product firmly associated with Switzerland is the mechanical watch: Buzz Aldrin wore an OMEGA watch when he stepped on the moon in 1969, a company headquartered in Biel / Bienne. And watchmaking sometimes even influenced architecture, as can be seen at UNESCO World Heritage site La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. After having visited the multiple watchmaking museums in the Vallée de Joux, you can even spend the night at the newly opened Hôtel des horlogers !
Château des Monts
Maison Olympique
And let's not forget that the world's largest sporting event, the Olympic Games, is also connected to Switzerland, with the International Olympic Committee being headquartered in Lausanne, the Capitale Olympique.
As I live in Lausanne, I have also explored the architectural landmarks in the greater Lausanne area. Have a look at the pages for the EPFL/UNIL campus, the Ouest lausannoisLe FlonOuchy and Vidy and Les hauts de Lausanne.
All major architectural styles, from Roman through the Churches and Castles and Forts of the Middle Ages to Art Nouveau and Post Modern are well represented in Switzerland. Indeed, it is here that the Congrès internationaux d'architecture moderne were founded in 1928, with Swiss architects Karl Moser and Le Corbusier as founding members. And even today, Switzerland is home to many famous architects and architectural practices, such as, for example, Peter Zumthor, Valerio Olgiati or Herzog & de Meuron.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Lausanne
Palazzo Glaser/Kunz
One particular interesting way to explore and experience these architectural treasures is through living in them, even when it's only for a short time. The choice is yours: while Ferien im Baudenkmal offers to rent vacation homes in centuries-old, softly restored, buildings, some Swiss Youth Hostels are located inside former factories or even a former sanatorium in Crans-Montana. Looking for more luxury ? The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz​​​​​​​ with its recent redesign by Claudio Carbone might be perfect for you. The Hotel Carina in Zermatt, freshly reopened in 2020 after extensive renovations, is classified "Design & Lifestyle" by HotellerieSuisse and, interestingly, offers both shared accommodations as well as penthouses with Matterhorn views right from the bed !
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