Taking Architecture Abroad
Travelling exhibitions and photography in postwar Switzerland

Since the 1930s, major exhibitions had been spreading the modern architecture ethos – notably, in Switzerland, the Neues bauen version – but the postwar situation was something new. In the context of the resumption of international relations and architectural reconstruction in Europe, these exhibitions were now designed to circulate beyond their national borders. Marking a totally new development, the initiative was coming not from the architectural world, but from cultural, touristic, economic and political circles bent on using architecture and urban planning to get a political message across to a broad audience. Organised by the cultural promotion body Pro Helvetia in 1946, the Switzerland Planning and Building Exhibition devoted over 400 photographs to its survey of modern Swiss architecture. The exhibition travelled through Europe for several years and others of the same type were frequent in Switzerland during the 1950s and 1960s.

Erich Lambertin, vue de l’exposition Switzerland Planning and Building Exhibition à la foire
de Cologne, 1948, tirage argentique, 12,5 x 17,5 cm. © Archives fédérales suisses, Berne.

Anne Develey holds a Masters in art history from the University of Geneva and is currently preparing her Ph.D at the Center of History of Culture at the University of Lausanne, as part of a Swiss National Science Foundation project. Focusing on photography in Swiss architecture exhibitions in 1945–1960, her thesis places special emphasis on the social and professional context and on stakeholder networks (architects, photographers and graphic artists).

Citation: Anne Develey, « L’architecture au-delà des frontières. Expositions itinérantes et photographie dans la Suisse de l’après-guerre », Transbordeur. Photographie histoire société, no. 2, 2018, pp. 92-101.

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