Forma parte ya del lenguaje cotidiano denominar Zona Cero a aquel espacio (físico o no) que ha sido objeto de un acontecimiento de tal magnitud que, automáticamente, pone el contador a cero en la historia particular de ese sitio (físico o no): primero para que no se olvide y, segundo, para que todo pueda ser reformulado desde ese nuevo punto de partida. El momento actual de crisis generalizada puede convertirse (si no lo ha sido ya) en la Zona Cero para la arquitectura en nuestro país: un espacio de tiempo, concreto, a partir del cual nos veremos obligados a buscar nuevos caminos. / Forms part of everyday language to call Zero Zone to that space (physical or not) that has undergone an event of such magnitude that automatically sets the counter to zero in the particular history of that site (physical or not): first so that is not forgotten and, second, so that everything can be reformulated from this new starting point. The present time of general crisis can become (if it has not already been) at Zero Zone for Architecture in our country: a space of time, concrete, from which we will be forced to seek new ways.


Peter Zumthor, Serpentine Gallery, Londres
In order to complete the work begun in the previous two entries about the recent Swiss Architecture, it is necessary to refer to another small country, also with an architectural production of the highest level, where has its headquarters the Shinkenchiku Publisher which publishes, among others, one of the Architecture review that is worldwide reference: a+u. The gaze of the Swiss Architecture through the eyes of this Japanese magazine help us finish our own vision of the “Swiss fact”This publication has dedicated, in recent years, different numbers to follow the Swiss architectural scene and, in all cases, with undisguised admiration. In 1998 he launched a collection called Extra Edition, a fully number dedicated to the figure of Peter Zumthor; a publication that, at that time, would become one of the few references to the work of the Swiss architect. Approaching, critically, to the work of Peter Zumthor  needs, even for a passionate about architecture like me, a good dose of courage given the size of the character.
Mies van der Rohe Prize in 1998, Japanese Imperial Prize in 2008 and Pritzker Prize in 2009, and many others; he is not much given to grant interviews or directly explain his work -he rejects the label of star architect- which makes his production even more enigmatic and, hence, distant. Given that packaging Zumthor´s work and projects with two sentences is frankly complicated, I prefer it be the author himself who defines his concept of Architecture making use of a paragraph from his book Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser (1998):

" I believe that architecture today needs to reflect on the tasks and possibilities which are inherently its own. Architecture is not a vehicle or a symbol for things that do not belong to its essence. In a society that celebrates the inessential, architecture can put up a resistance, counteract the waste of forms and meanings, and speak its own language. I think the language of architecture is not a question of a specific style. Every building is built for a specific use in a specific place and for a specific society. My buildings try to answer the questions that emerge from these simple facts as precisely and critically as they can. "
This number of a+u (Extra Edition) allow us, for sure, a stroll through its initial work of which I especially recommend a pause with enough time to gaze his pencil drawings of his first buildings: the Chapel of St. Benedict, in Sumvig (1987 1989); his first studio in Haldenstein (1985-1986); the Seniors´ Residence in Masans (1992-1993), and the gorgeous footbridge of the Art Museum built in the capital of the canton of Grisons: Chur (1987-1990), in which it can be seen that the drawing loses its character of preview work to become a synthesis of it: something that already contains everything that the architect pretends to express when it took its final shape .The publication continues with two works that, somehow, launched Zumthor to worldwide recognition as the sublime Thermal Baths in Vals (1990-1996) and  the Kunsthaus Bregenz in neighboring Austria (1990-1997). Later, freshly uncorked the new century and millennium, they will come some well known (and reported) works as the Swiss Pavilion at the Expo in Hannover (2000), the Chapel of Brother Klaus in Merchernich in Germany (2007), the Kolumba Museum in Cologne (2007), the dwellings in Leis (2008) and more recently, among others, the temporary pavilion (annual) for the Serpentine Gallery in London. The expression I believe best defines the career of this architect is one that qualifies him as atemporal, which means that transcends the proper historical context in which it is housed. From the expressive point of view, and also tectonic, Zumthor's works seem to be made to be closely observed, even to be touched, as it can be seen from the gaze of the photographer Hélène Binett I recommend you.
Eleven years later, in 2009, a+u returned to the latest Swiss architectural scene in its issue 444 (7:09), to show us the work of nine architects -or architect teams- with works and projects that start in the 2002. The title used by the Japanese publisher to present the publication: Swiss Passion, predisposes us to what we will find in its pages, an architecture that raises passions, in the more metaphorical sense of the term. Many of the referenced, they repeated regarding the Spanish publications mentioned in the preceding posts: Herzog & de Meuron, Gigon/Guyer, Christian Kerez, Meili & Peter, Wespi & de Meuron. The list is completed with two new names who bring their card to the Swiss scenario: Laurent Savioz (the youngest) and the tandem formed by Bonnard & Woeffray.

Laurent Savioz, renovation in Chamoson
The first of them, Savioz, announces himself with a work that, thereupon, it will become a reference of the contemporary Central European architecture in the field of intervention and restoration of buildings: the renovation of an antique detached house in Chamoson (2005); work that forms the image of the cover of the review. Keeping the stereotomy of the powerful walls of a typical alpine house, Savioz unfolds his more modern ideario to reconfigure and update the existing building. The most damaged stone walls are reconstructed with the plasticity of formwork concrete with wooden splints, giving the impression that this piece had always been there. Pronounced wooden eaves of the pitched roofs disappear, being the matteric envelope itself which defines its edge and confines the flagstones of the gables. The brilliant interpretation in the rhythm of the fenestration, contrasting the new with the existing by means of the depth (and size) of glass planes which close the space, along with the use a palette of materials inside identical to that used on the outer skin: stone and concrete, make this intervention an indispensable work. Savioz, who was presented in this project, would confirm in his later career that he were not a flash in the pan. Architect with a brief work, of small scale, he will surprised us, again, beside Claude Fabrizzi, his partner since 2007, for the intelligent processing of materials held in several later realizations, such as the extension of a house in Ardon (2009 ) and the splendid Elementary School in Vollèges (2010).

Savioz & Fabrizzi,  Elementary School in Vollêges 

Bonnard & Woeffray, Professional  School in Viège
The team formed by Geneviève Bonnard and Denis Woeffray have his studio in Monthey, in the canton of Valais –with French language and culture-, in which the architect already referenced worked as associate, Laurent Savioz. This a+u number showed a work, framed in what could be called as the first stage of the team: his own studio in Monthey (2002-2003), characterized by the use of prismatic volumetries externally defined either with continuous elements (colored concrete) or large compact panels, in which is always present the emptying of a ground floor corner of the building and, hence, with a portion of the first floor fully cantilever (without pillars), what introduces, with this gesture, a stress point in the resulting volume. This stage can be framed in what at the time was called, in general, as "Swiss Boxes" due to the constructive precision of the proposals. Two excelent execution buildings correspond at this phase, both of them dedicated to teaching: the Primary School in Fully (1998-2001) and the School Center in Blonay (2002-2004).

Bonnard & Woeffray, Primary School in Bovernier 

Converted in a landmark studio in his country, its last stage is presented with proposals much more open, by means the use of plants with irregular layout that define a faceted volumetry, and the experimentation with metal cladding which, in the case of the two last school buildings, will end, due to the polishing of metal surfaces used, by dissolving the outer skin to turn them into a kind of carved glass: changing and at the mercy of the light which streams down their faces. The Professional School in Viège (2004-2009) and the Elementary School in Bovernier (2007-2009) are both examples of this phase. Between the two above we can find another reference work of B&W (by its diffusion) such as the Kindergarden in Monthey (2002-2008); a small divertimento with polygonal plan which appears like an explosion of colors (both exterior and interior) and that seems to float over the snowy landscape.
Bonnard & Woeffray, Kindergarden in Monthey

Savioz & Fabrizzi, house extension in Ardon 
+a+u nº 444 (07:09). Shinkenchiku
+Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser (1998)
+Thomas Jantscher, fotógrafo