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Carte Brute Feature, St. Galler Tagblatt, 2021. Explore more on

St. Galler Tagblatt

Print & Online Feature. Also published in Thurgauer Zeitung, Appenzeller Zeitung

Concrete is ugly? A new folding guide proves otherwise and lists the five boldest concrete buildings in eastern Switzerland

Concrete, exciting? Exposed concrete, a piece of Swiss cultural heritage? Zurich writer Karin Bürki absolutely thinks so. But she is by no means naïve. She is well aware that the general public still regards concrete buildings from the 1960s and 1970s as “monsters” and eyesores. She wants to change that and has therefore published “Carte Brute”, a folding guide with the “50 most daring and exciting” Swiss concrete icons of the last 100 years.

Inspired by Brutalism, an architectural movement that emerged in Britain in the 1950s, the buildings may seem ‘brutal’ to some. But the term refers to the French béton brut, which simply means exposed concrete.

On the poster-sized Carte Brute, all 50 buildings are presented with an aesthetic image. The captions are brief: if you want to know more, you can find out on Instagram (@heartbrut) and, above all, on the website There, 25 concrete icons are described in detail and documented with numerous photos. This online compendium is constantly being expanded.

Bürki focuses on a young, international audience. She wants to bring Switzerland’s “unique béton-brut heritage” closer to the “digitally savvy generation under 40”.

When making her selection, Karin Bürki focused on architectural and cultural relevance, but visual and design aspects were also taken into account. Of the 50 buildings listed on the “Carte Brute”, five are located in eastern Switzerland…