Page N4.1 . 04 September 2002                     
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    Swiss Architectural Summer

    by Sabine von Fischer

    Strange figures have appeared in Switzerland this summer. A rusty cube rises over 100 feet (30 meters) out of Lake Murten. Three giant saucers hover over the shoreline of Lake Neuchâtel, and another blurry shape is at lake's end.

    In the so-called Three-Lakes region, the four cities of Biel, Neuchâtel, Murten, and Yverdon have been connected into a network of sites and temporary structures this summer for Switzerland's sixth national exhibition that will run through October 20, 2002.

    Previous exhibitions in 1883, 1896, 1914, 1939, and 1964 attempted to reinforce the national identity of the Swiss Confederation, which has seven million inhabitants and four official languages. By contrast, Expo.02 is a playground for testing cultural boundaries and paradoxes.

    In each of the four cities chosen for Expo.02, a park has been laid out at the lakeside and on an island that extends the exhibition out into the water. The word coined for these sites is "arteplage," (from "art" and the French word for "beach"). A fifth, slightly mysterious, hard-to-find site is the "Arteplage Mobile du Jura" a floating structure supporting events on the topic "Meaning and Movement."

    While smaller than the 2000 World Expo held in Hanover, Germany, the Swiss Expo has reached considerable size in its ambition to speak for the country's 26 cantons (counties), for both public and private sectors, and for both science and art. Thanks to a joint effort of cities, industry, and government, it has succeeded in achieving this breadth.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    One highlight of the 2002 Swiss national exhibition was "Monolith" by Agence Jean Nouvel, a rusty metal cube superimposed on the Swiss landscape.
    Photo: Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss + Sabine von Fischer/ Normal Group for Architecture

    ArchWeek Image

    Levitating shells surrounded by yellow phosphorescent reeds at the Neuchâtel arteplage of Expo.02.
    Photo: Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss + Sabine von Fischer/ Normal Group for Architecture


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