When was the last time you lingered at a brutalist science site for pleasure? Wedged between Geneva’s main hospital complex and a micro forest, the centre for medical research looks like an abstract wise-tree ejected from an icy galaxy or a souvenir from a former Soviet republic. Fractal panes of raw concrete form a massive trunk, from which vertical, slender branches frame a crystalline cube of candyfloss tinted glass windows. Gazing at the pastel pinks, blues and yellows melting gently in the golden haze of the afternoon sun is a feast for the eyes.
Even the futuristic, golden elevator entrance at the foot of the trunk glistens like the promise of scientific progress, in a Ken Adam-designed, Bond fantasy kind of way. The crystal that fell to earth is also galaxies away from the ascetic, no-nonsense masculinity that dominates so many brutalist designs in this country. This floral solitaire is a 70s macho who proudly embraces his softer side. It remains a radical rarity on planet Switzerland to this very day.