Lanscape and Structures
A personal inventory by Jürg Conzett,
photographed by Martin Linsi
with 22 models by Lydia Conzett-Gehring
The Teatro dell’architettura-USI in Mendrisio opens the exhibition Landscape and Structures - A personal inventory by Jürg Conzett, photographed by Martin Linsi, promoted by the Academy of Architecture of the Università della Svizzara italiana
The exhibition unfolds through numerous themed sections occupying the three floors of the Teatro dell’architettura and presenting a rich repertoire of infrastructure from around Switzerland, selected over the years by the well-known structural engineer Jürg Conzett and documented together with photographer Martin Linsi; all the featured works stand out by virtue of the strong bond they have established with the landscape around them. They comprise bridges, footbridges, tunnels, retaining walls and passageways,
all structures that serve the purposes of communication and connection.
Interest is mainly focused on engineering works with architectural aspirations, being structures that on one hand directly address issues of engineering and economic efficiency, while at the same time evoking particular sensations and aesthetic-architectural reflections in those who observe them.
Originally planned for the Swiss Pavilion at the 12th International Exhibition of Architecture at the Venice Biennale, from 2010 to today the exhibition has gradually been expanded to include new subjects, such as the section dedicated to the “Trutg dil Flem” project, a new hiking trail that runs alongside the Flembach river at Flims, for which Jürg Conzett helped to plot the route and planned and constructed a series of footbridges. This edition of the exhibition also includes video clips and a series of 22 wooden models of bridges constructed by Jürg Conzett and Gianfranco Bronzini during their career as design engineers.
The 160 black and white large-scale photographs on display in the exhibition are the result of a series of excursions through Switzerland carried out by Jürg Conzett and Martin Linsi nel corso del 2010. The exhibition is ordered according to the chronological order of the photographic campaigns: beginning with the winter landscape of the Sittertobel between St. Gallen and Herisau, and ending in early summer on the Susten Pass.
In the various sections, different by subject, there are the documents that testify also to the continuous “dialogue” between the protection requests promoted by the Heimatschutz and the needs related to the construction of engineering works: a prime example of this is the Swiss Federal Railway’s Sitter viaduct, realized with large arches in reinforced concrete with stone cladding.
The practice of using local materials and traditional artisan construction techniques is also evident in the Dorf bridge in Vals, an actual “extension”
of the town square, constructed with slabs of Gneiss stone from the Vallais and reinforced concrete, both skilfully used for a function that is load-bearing yet also aesthetically attractive. Designed by Conzett Bronzini Partner AG in consultation with Peter Zumthor, the Dorf bridge introduces one of the central topics of the exhibition, and that is how civil engineering works can draw inspiration from the constant interaction between their design and construction tradition and the landscape where they are located.
The exhibition testifies to the constructions that have held a particular significance in Jürg Conzett’s professional training and career. In this sense the selection of works on display is subjective, making no claims to drawing up an exhaustive list of the panorama of Swiss infrastructure.
The exhibition is completed by a rich consultable portfolio containing technical documents, newsletters and descriptive and scientific articles dedicated to the objects on display, systematically put together by Jürg Conzett.
12 April - 7 July 2019