Is it architecture, is it sculpture – is it brutalism at all, or rather Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art)? With Walter Maria Förderer, one is never quite sure. The Swiss architect and sculptor certainly had a knack for using raw concrete in a highly neo-expressionist way and is best known for his monumental sacral buildings, such as Heiligkreuz in Chur and St Nicolas in Hérémence (Canton of Valais).
Brunnmatt school is his third building, and you can see his signature clear-cut, sculptural style and polygonal, nested structures already in place. Though most of it purely ornamental, and thus not exactly textbook brutalist, Förderer was nevertheless a faithful disciple in spirit.
His radically gestural school complex marked a bold departure from the functionalist, steel-and-glass modernism and cottage-style defining Switzerland’s architectural landscape in the early 60’s. Thus, Brunmatt’s status as a listed building is fully deserved.