Focus Terra, Zurich, Switzerland

Holzer Kobler Architekturen
in partnership with ANS Architects and Planer AG.
Date Built
Opened 2009
Naturwissenschaften Ost building on the campus of the ETH
The Focus Terra exhibition is to be found inside the Natural Sciences Institute building of the ETHZ (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich or Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich).  The building, designed by the architect Gustav Gull, dates from 1916 and is characterized by, "... a spacious, four-floored inner hall (quadrangle) and accommodated, shortly after its opening, the earth science collections of the ETH. Long rows of dark-wooded showcases occupied the entire hall where the majority of the collection could be stored and exhibited."  Over the years it has undergone a number of refurbishments including one in 2005 to 2009 by the architects Itten-Brechbühl that was designed to allow for this permanent earth science exhibition.

The Holzer Kobler website points out that, "... The centerpiece of the exhibition is a tower located in the covered courtyard. .....

.... The free-standing spiral form of the exhibition tower sets itself confidently apart from the existing building. Analogous to the forces at work below the earth`s surface, the tower spirals up three levels reaching just below the skylight of the inner courtyard. ...

... A staircase and a continuous ribbon of showcases connect different levels of the exhibition in a seamless continuum, and guide visitors through the fascinating layers of the earth: from the dynamic processes inside the earth`s core, the treasures hidden below its surface, to the intriguing `archives` preserved in its strata through the ages.

- Other views of the building's interior -