Lauren Rabaino

A bright white cross in a sea of red marks the center of a display of elaborate images depicting monumental Swiss architectural design in the Cal Poly Robert E. Kennedy Library.

“Ticinese Architecture in the World: Milestones and Protagonists 1970-2003” is the name of the show on display in the Gallery of the Commons on the library’s second floor. It is part of a worldwide traveling exhibitionmaking its way to universities across the nation.

Featured in the exhibit are drawings and photographs of works created by Ticinese architects, who hail from southern Switzerland. The architects, well-known throughout the country and beyond, include Mario Botta, Mario Campi, Aurelio Galfetti, Bruno Reichlin, Fabio Reinhardt, Flora Ruchat-Roncati, Luigi Snozzi and Livio Vacchini.

Contributions were also made to the exhibit by contemporary architectural scholars Kenneth Frampton, Jacques Gubler, Werner Oechslin and Roberto Masiero.

The display is comprised of 26 panels and two inflated cylinders, each of which includes an introduction, biographies of “protagonist” architects, and milestones in Swiss structural history. There is also a geographical panel showing locations of architectural works as well as a timeline panel.

The works presented in the show were both famous in Switzerland as well as commissioned within the nation and abroad.

The aim of the show is to educate people about the expressions of the Ticinese architectural movement to enhance its international reputation and to aid the understanding of how the movement has influenced architects around the world. Some of the structures include apartments, shops and gymnasiums.

“Swiss architecture has always sought a balance between tradition and innovation, between the essential and the exceptional,” said Henri de Hahn, Cal Poly architecture department head and professor.

“Beyond its formal minimalist attitude is more a consequence of a search for an economy of mediums, particularly in the Italian and German-speaking regions of Switzerland. We are pleased to encourage such formative voices within the profession.”

The opening reception, sponsored by the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, was Sept. 24. The show runs until Friday, Oct. 12 and can be seen during regular library hours.

The exhibit is presented by Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium, and the Pro-Helvetia Arts Council of Switzerland. Sponsoring the exhibit are the library as well as the architecture department and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Swiss architecture is particularly distinctive in its Romanesque style and is considered innovative and modern. Architecture holds a strong place in Swiss tradition.

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