08.12.2012 - 21.04.2013

Building Images. Photographie Focusing on Swiss Architecture

It is often the case that our perceptions of contemporary architecture is not based on impressions that we obtain on site; instead, they are mediated by images. In a society which, as a result of the "iconic turn", is influenced more by images than by text, photography takes on decisive significance, also in the mediation of architecture. «BUILDING IMAGES» is conceived as a panorama of the last 25 years of Swiss architecture. Buildings which have contributed to the worldwide success of Swiss construction are presented – not by means of plans and models, but solely via the medium of photography. Here, artistic positions enter into a dialog with architectural photography. Rather than limiting itself to stringing together exemplary photographs, the presentation also sheds light on the different aspects of the relationship between image and architecture in an analytical section. What role do images play during the design process? Which architects prefer which images?

Thomas Ruff's large-format photo of the Ricola warehouse completed in 1987 by Herzog & de Meuron in Laufen, a photo exhibited in Venice in 1991 together with photos by Balthasar Burkhard, Margherita Krischanitz and Hanna Villiger which depicted other works by these Basel-based architects, marks the start of the exhibition and serves as an example of the cooperation between architects and art photographers that began around 1990. Apart from with Herzog & de Meuron, this is most evident with Peter Zumthor, whose structures were first approached by Hans Danuser and later by Hélène Binet. Cross references to the history of photography are visualised, as is the close proximity to artists.

Upcoming exhibitions

09.09. - 05.11.2023

SAY - Swiss Architecture Yearbook 2023

Opening: 8/9/2023, 7 PM

What defines Swiss architecture, and how does it contribute to the overall quality of life in all parts of the country? The exhibition focuses on current construction and renovation projects with the aim of raising awareness about Swiss building culture and increase its visibility.

25.11.2023 - 03.03.2024

What if

Opening: 24/11/2023, 7 PM

Lost, rejected, abandoned or altered... There is a vast number of architectural designs that continue to be talked about in Switzerland, even though they have never been built. The S AM takes a look back at them and constructs a utopian-dystopian image of what Switzerland could have been.