16.11.2002 - 2.02.2003
In 1780 the English architect John Soane (1753-1837), like many of his neoclassical colleagues, passed through Switzerland on the 'grand tour'. Here he came across wooden bridges in Wettingen, Reichenau and Schaffhausen by the brothers Johannes and Hans Ulrich Grubenman. These fascinated him, and led to numerous drawings and sketches.
Soane, who later became professor of architecture at the Royal Academy in London, took a keen interest in the structure of these bridges. This is the focal point of our current exhibition, which contains items that have never been shown to the general public before. They are complemented by models of wooden bridges, and afford an exciting insight into the technology, construction and development of timber bridge construction in the 18th century.
Soane had been fascinated by bridge-building even as a young student, and it had won him a gold medal in a competition for a triumphal bridge. And later, during his long professional career, he also often planned bridges and was consulted about their construction.
The exhibition "John Soane and wooden bridges in Switzerland" was conceived by the Archivio del Moderno in Mendrisio and realized in co-operation with the Sir John Soane's Museum in London and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura 'Andrea Palladio' in Vicenza. It will be shown in Basel after Mendrisio and Vicenza, before finally appearing at the Sir John Soane's Museum in London.