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Stettbach School, Secondary School, Esther + Rudolf Guyer, Zurich, 1964-1967,© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut, Swiss Brutalism. Explore more on Heartbrut.com

École Stettbach

Picture of Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

Texte et photographie : Karin Bürki

Classe Corbusier

Situated in a spacious and neatly manicured sloping parkland, Stettbach Secondary School is accessed via a monumental flight of stairs from the busy Dübendorfstrasse. It comprises a main school building and a further building housing a sports hall and indoor swimming pool. A covered passage leads to the main entrance and the schoolyard. While the exterior is in béton brut, the interior is dominated by exposed brickwork. Throughout the complex, concrete art interventions by Eva Pauli in bold orange, blue, green and purple break up the sacral-ascetic vibe, presumably much to the relief of the school kids who came of age in the late 1960s.

Stettbach was the first school building competition won by Esther and Rudolf Guyer. More importantly, it was a great opportunity for the young architectural duo to deepen their love of Le Corbusier. The Guyers essentially packed his design for the La Tourette Monastery into their suitcases and adapted it for the Schwamendingen district on the outskirts of Zurich.
Stettbach launched the Guyers’ career, which in its Brutalist phase included schools, army barracks and church buildings throughout Switzerland. Although their secondary school is essentially textbook Le Corbusier, the architects’ own design sensibilities are already evident: site-specific solutions, ascetic aesthetics, material restraint – and a penchant for candelabra street lamps and futuristic orange. Seven years later, the Guyers’ design for the Gewerbeschule Zurich was to go full-on 70s psychedelic.
Stettbach School, Secondary School, Esther + Rudolf Guyer, Zurich, 1964-1967,© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut, Swiss Brutalism. Explore more on Heartbrut.com

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

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Hochhaus zur Palme High-Rise, Haefeli Moser Steiger, Zurich, 1955-1964, Swiss Brutalism, © Karin Bürki/Heartbrut. Explore more on Heartbrut.com
Masonry Hall, Maurerhalle, Hermann Baur, Basel, Swiss brutalism, © Karin Bürki/Heartbrut. Explore more on Heartbrut.com
Brunnmatt Schulhaus, Basel © Karin Bürki/HEARTBRUT. Explore more on Heartbrut.com