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Notes about the country the moment you visit it the moment you understand why its citizens are proud of what they possess and where they live

According to the World happiness report Switzerland is one of the happiest countries in the world, although its population is only 8.5 million people.

This country is well-known all around the world not only for its precise watches but also for a range of prominent architects: the founder of modernism Le Corbusier, Peter Markli, Mario Botta, Pierre de Meuron, Jacques Herzog, etc.

The Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine organized the trip to Switzerland for a group of architects, urbanists and designers from Ukraine making it possible thus to observe and witness the uniqueness of this country.
National Museum / ZÜRICH
Visit to the Christ & Gantenbein Architectural Bureau based in Basel with a staff of about 60 people and projects all over Europe was a starting point of our five-day marathon. The architects' approach to work is impressive from the conception creation to its implementation. One of the projects implemented by Christ & Gantenbein — the Swiss National Museum Extension in Zurich is a monolithic stone massif organically combined with antique walls, thereby continuing the history of the Swiss people. The largest cultural and historical collection of the country, presented in the National Museum allows its visitors to comprehend and realize the way of life, what was thinking about and feeling the past generations.
Kunstmuseum / Basel
The art gallery Landesmuseum Zürich Kunstmuseum in Basel collects works of contemporary art dated from 1990 till nowadays. In 2016 a new gallery building was opened and turned to be quite easy on the eye. The monochrome brick building is organically implemented in the city structure and attentively designed to the smallest details. Even the ticker does not ruin the overall colored scheme of the building and disturb the calmness of the Swiss people consequently. The gallery is a very important cultural object in the city even though the population of Basel in 2015 was only 169 thousand people while in Kiev the amount of inhabitants is about 3 million.
elephant house zoo / zürich
The next acquaintance with the culture and values of Switzerland was a visit to Sika Technology AG — a leader in the construction and production of building chemistry. The quality of this products can be seen and appreciated throughout the country - it's hardly possible to find concrete more beautiful than this. One of the objects the company was working upon is the Elephant House. This is a new construction for the Asian elephants built by architects from Markus Schietsch Architekten in 2015. A building with a diameter of about 80 m with a roof made of multi-faceted wooden structures without additional pillars inside with cut-out roof windows, each of which is unique and additionally provide lighting.
The roof rainwater is collected in the special underground cleaning station and could be used thus for the needs of the elephants and the zoo.
The elephants can walk both inside and outside for the sake of providing maximum comfort and proximity to their natural environment.
The furniture factory Vitra. This is a unique place in the German city of Weil am Rhein located close to the point where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. Vitra has always hankered for work only with the prominent designers and architects from different countries.

Among others they are: Philippe Starck, Marten van Severen, Charles and Ray Eames, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Ron Arad and others.
In 1981 the factory was fired up. The owners have pinned all their hopes on andset up inviting the best architects in order to design new buildings. Eventually this turned the company into a large museum. Today 24 buildings along with sculptures and small architectural forms, workshop and a design studio by Alvaro Siza, museum from Frank Henry, a fire station from Zaha Hadid, a conference room from Tadao Ando have been implemented. In 2010 a Vitra-Vitrahaus home collection store was built according to the Herzog & de Meuron architectural project.

Full list of architectural names that took part: Álvaro Siza, Nicholas Grimsha, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Jean Prouvé ,Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van, Bruggen, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Álvaro Siza, Carsten Höller, Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry.
Energy efficiency issues are very relevant for Switzerland. Glas Trösch is a company focused on the glass energy efficiency issues. The Leutschenbach School project developed by the Christian Kerez Architectural Bureau depicts how glass and children can co-exist.
The school is completely covered with glass with sports hall on the top floor demonstrates the coexistence of energy efficiency, glass and concrete.
Europaallee / ZÜRICH
Another example where the Glas Trösch technology is applied is Europaallee / Zurich — a combination of commercial, educational and residential functions within a few quarters. The KCAP office lead the reconstruction of the area near the Central Railway Station of Zurich. The architecture was created by various bureau selected on a competitive basis - Max Dudler, Caruso St John, Gigon / Mike Guyer and others. The construction has started in 2004 and is still in progress.
Zurich-West district
A revitalized residential block on the land of the former Leuvenbrau plant in the Zurich-West district was the final point of our trip. This project was designed by the Swiss office Gigon / Guyer Architekten founded in 1989.

An industrial area in the past nowadays has a residential purpose and is an expensive and popular among youth area. There are a lot of museums, art galleries, cultural institutions. The former brewery has become an important cultural center where exhibitions of contemporary art are constantly held.
Prime Tower / ZÜRICH
Another work of this architecture bureau is located next to Hardbrucke Station. The 126-meter 36-story giant Prime Tower immediately attracts attention. The highest building in Switzerland — Roche Tower — is designed by the Basel architecture bureau Herzog & de Meuron (178 m, 42 floors).
Coming to Switzerland, you immediately feel three things: incredibly clean air, clean water and healthy food. These are the basics that shape a healthy person and society, consequently. The open-mindedness of the Swiss way of live, the simplicity of environmental solutions and nature care — all these might serve as a good example and a reference case for Ukraine.
* Architecture bureau Zotov&Co expresses its gratitude to The Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine for organizing the trip to Switzerland
Text: Anton Sukhar, architect Zotov & Co, CANactions School for Urban Studies alumni.