WHAT IF — Unbuilt Architecture in Switzerland

S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum
Until April 7, 2024

Very few countries give their population such a far-reaching democratic right of co-determination in the realization of architecture and urbanism as does Switzerland. While this has produced a democratically approved architecture that is unique in the world, it has also prevented numerous projects from becoming part of the country’s built history.
Whether lost, rejected, stalled, or changed—there is a multitude of architectural designs that continue to be talked about to this day in Switzerland, even though they have never been executed. Those longed for, but not realized works are not single episodes but part of the everyday life of any architecture office, no matter how spoilt with success it may be.

In dialogue with almost two dozen architectural institutions from all parts of the country, the new exhibition at the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum entitled “What If” attempts to make a representative selection from a nearly infinite pool of projects. These projects together draw a picture of an alternative Switzerland, in which the courage to embrace utopia is greater than the fear of avoiding mistakes. The S AM takes a look back at them and constructs a utopian-dystopian image of what Switzerland could have been.