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«Svizzera 240» selected for the Architecture Biennale in 2018

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has decided, after a two-phase competition on a selective procedure basis, to entrust the realisation of the Swiss participation at the 16th Architecture Biennale of Venice in 2018 to Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor and Matthew van der Ploeg with their project «Svizzera 240».

The Venice Architecture Biennale is considered as one of the foremost platforms for architecture and urban design worldwide. With the 16th edition due to open in May 2018, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia launched a competition last December for the design of the Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale.

81 dossiers were submitted to the two-phase competition on a selective procedure basis. Five of them have been selected for the second round. Pro Helvetia follows the unanimous recommendation of an independent jury and entrusts the realisation of the Swiss Pavilion to the young winning team of Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor and Matthew van der Ploeg with their project named «Svizzera 240».


«That’s what we do. That’s what Swiss architects always do, and do everywhere. They draw residences.» This is the introductory remark of the team about «Svizzera 240», the more recent version of the project «2:1, Gute Wohnung». The jury was impressed by the pertinence, subtlety and freshness underlying the proposal, and is convinced that the project will be enthusiastically greeted by the visitors of the 16th Architecture Biennale of Venice.

The project addresses the theme of residential construction or «Wohnungsbau». The subtle and fresh approach to a subject that is profoundly Swiss in its production is at once surprising, entertaining and challenging. Presented in the form of an installation, an architectural model at full scale, Bruno Giacometti’s pavilion mutates into an apartment, becoming a sequence of interior spatialities and ambiences of the production of contemporary Swiss‘«Wohnungsbau». The «Svizzera 240» ensemble is composed of a series of spaces constructed of slightly varying scales. The visitor is guided through the installation before ending the tour on the patio, which provides a vision of the whole model. Perception and body sensations are at the core of the project and enable the visitor to address the question of inhabited space from a new angle. The staging is a reference to the flat viewings that are arranged when a building is completed.

The title subtly refers to the 240 cm which are currently defined as the ideal ceiling height of a flat, and which will also serve as a reference point for the installation. «Svizzera 240» raises the question of the relationship between man, society and the present times directly through constructed space.


The architects Alessandro Bosshard (MSc ETH Arch.), Li Tavor (MSc ETH Arch.) and Matthew van der Ploeg (M.Arch, UIC) have been working together since 2015 as assistant lecturers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich for Prof. Dr. Alex Lehnerer. In the context of this work, they are all involved in the development of research and exhibition projects.


The jury, composed by Marco Bakker (jury president, Architect, Bakker & Blanc architectes, Lausanne and Zurich, Professor, EPFL ENAC), Francesco Buzzi (Architectural Director, Buzzi studio d’architettura, Locarno), Irina Davidovici (Writer and postdoctoral researcher, ETH Zurich), Céline Guibat (Architect, mijong architecture design, Sion and Zurich) and Isa Stürm (Architect, Isa Stürm Urs Wolf SA, Zurich), emphasised that the quality of the numerous submissions reflect the importance and interest of the Venice Biennale for the architecture scene in Switzerland.

The 81 submitted projects as well as the jury reports can be viewed at www.biennials.ch.

Further information on Switzerland’s presence at biennials: www.biennials.ch

Sandi Paucic, Project Leader Swiss participation Venice Biennale, T. +41 44 267 71 67, M. +41 76 347 17 11, spaucic@prohelvetia.ch

Marlène Mauris, Pro Helvetia, Communication, +41 44 267 71 36, mmauris@prohelvetia.ch

Media Release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 30.06.2017