Helvetia Patria Headquarters, St. Gallen

Hubertus Adam 

Located on top of the Girtannersberg, a hill overlooking the Swiss town of St. Gallen, the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences is among the most significant examples of the architecture of the sixties in the country. The exposed concrete construction, carried out by Walter M. Förderer, Rolf Otto and Hans Zwimpfer between 1960 and 1963 combines the characteristic standardized construction and the formal research of the moment. The quality of the complex can be best appreciated when compared with its neighbor, the principal headquarters of the insurance company Helvetia; a cruciform building, sited on the slope and oblivious to its surroundings, clad in pink panels of prefabricated concrete. Though functional in the late-modern sense of the term, the complex lacks formal strength; as the symbol of one of the most prestigious insurance companies in Switzerland, it appears simply inadequate...

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