Ernst Gisel is a renowned Swiss architect. After completing their studies in architecture, he started his firm in 1945. He won several architectural competitions, through which he got commissioned for various projects. His most appreciated projects include churches, schools, and communal buildings. The projects were internationally recognized and won several awards including German Architecture Prize and Hugo Häring Prize.

After becoming an honorary member of the Association of German Architects BDA he received Paul-Bonatz-Price in 1967. His work got international recognition through several architectural conferences and exhibitions. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by ETH Zurich for his contribution to the field of Architecture. Among his many outstanding projects, fifteen of them are mentioned below:

1. Protestant Church

Location: Effretikon, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1961

The church having staggered massing in exposed concrete with the tent-like roof covered with fiber cement is one of the most famous projects by Ernst Gisel. The bell tower acts as a distinguishing feature of the design and is recognized internationally as one of the most powerful architectural sculptures. The church interior is simple yet impressive. The skylights allow light from the south. The red bricks for walls and floor and the white varnished pine paneling of the roof soffit enhance the interior.

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2. Customer Center of the Public Services and Museum 

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Project Completion: 1990

The building complex consists of a customer center, a Jewish museum, and a restaurant. During excavation work for this building in 1987, foundations of 14 Jewish houses were found. This lead to controversy regarding the construction site. Later, the construction of the museum integrated with the earlier building proposal was approved. The museum here documents the history of the Jewish community. Two wall slabs of yellow brick oscillating in various degrees define the form of the building. The office wings here are covered with an inwardly sloping glass roof structure.

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3. Town Hall 

Location: Fellbach, Germany
Project Completion: 1986

The building was declared as a cultural monument in 2014, becoming one of the youngest cultural monuments of the region. The design emphasizes on creation of open spaces. The central foyer of the complex gives access to parliamentary group rooms, mayor areas, meeting rooms, and other departments. The building exterior is made of yellow bricks, combined with glass. In contrast to the plain façade, finer materials are used in the interior. 

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4. Indoor Swimming Pool

Location: Meilen, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1978 

This project was designed along a slope, creating a solid concrete base. Initially, the structure was supposed to include a school and sports center but later only the indoor pool came to reality. The structure has extensive use of exposed concrete and is glazed over the base to allow a picturesque landscape view.

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5. Protestant Community Center

Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Project Completion: 1966

The complex consists of a community center with hall and foyer, two nursery schools, and a church with a detached bell tower, through which there is an entrance to the courtyard. The gently inclined whitewashed walls reflect the light that enters through the skylight. The suspended roof of the church is also one of the prominent features of the building. The exterior of the building is done completely in exposed concrete. Several elements of this building reflect a close study of the ‘Ronchamp Chapel’ by Le Corbusier. 

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6. School Building,Letzi

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1956

The orthogonal arrangement of the classroom wings and a wing with the gym around the central building is observed in the project. The central courtyard here has a stand-alone building considered as the intellectual center. The central building has a room for drawing class, music class, and lecture hall. The use of brick is done extensively throughout the project.

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7. School Building, Hamme

Location: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1967

The demanding topography of the site leads to an interesting built form of the structure. The school building is divided into separate structures according to the utility. The classrooms here are stepped in the form of terraces. Over four different floors, a total of twelve classrooms are spread. A wing along the street has activity rooms, the gym, and a mini swimming pool. The façade shows extensive use of red bricks. Sills and lintels are left as visible concrete elements.

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8. School Center,Mühleholz

Location: Vaduz,Liechtenstein
Project Completion: 1973

The building complex has alleys, courtyards, and squares designed to be an autonomous little town. The specific functions of the school are each assigned specially to specific structures. The extension of the building was done in the year 1990 using a slate-clad façade which contrasts perfectly with the red exposed masonry. The rounded class tract, which adjoins a longitudinal construction, is a notable feature of the building.

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9. Centre of the Protestant Student community and University Church

Location: Mainz, Germany
Project Completion: 1969

The student center comprises single rooms, two-room apartments, the university church, the community halls and flats for the students and the staff. This extensive red brick complex is designed thoughtfully considering courtyards and landscape around. The walls here show the character of being staggered, rounded, and projecting. The lintels are finished in exposed concrete. In the center of the courtyard is placed a fountain designed by the architect himself.

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10. Youth Hostel 

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1966

The form of the building is a result of the triangular building site. The internal walls and stairs are executed in exposed concrete. The structure comprises an internal courtyard. The strategic arrangement of the windows is according to the accommodation of bunk beds inside the hostel.

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11. Apartment building- Ilgenstrasse 

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1997

Ernest Gisel designed this place as a residence for him and his family. The building is constructed on a square plot. The area is divided in the middle to create two separate flats. Each half of the building includes a separate space in the basement. There are two spacious roof terraces on the third floor. The facade reflects distinctive bay windows and Portuguese slate is used for cladding. The contrast of the dark slate façade with the white window frames adds to the aesthetics of the building.

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12. Apartment building- Clausiusstrasse 

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1961

The design of this building is highly influenced by the narrow plot on which it is constructed. The apartments are oriented diagonally. The cylindrical staircase is designed to give access to the balconies which also adds to the quality of the façade.

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13. Apartment building- Hegibachstrasse

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1960 

The concentration of the building mass allows a continuous green area to the south of the complex. The building shows staggering in plan and section consisting of four to seven floors. The recesses in the floor plan improve the clarity in the street space. The uppermost apartments are connected to a roof garden. To add aesthetic value, white windows stand out from the cladded light green rough plaster.

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14. Atelier and Apartments for Cooperative Painter and Sculptor

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1954

The shortage of studios in the city of Zurich led to the creation of this building. The five-story brick residential tower comprises apartments and studios. The studios for sculptors are situated on the ground floor and are connected to the exterior surroundings. The painters’ studios are overlying and are accessed with an open gallery.

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15. Retirement Home

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Completion: 1988

The retirement home is a semicircular building with a courtyard. The floor plan of the building ensures the view of the distant mountains from the rooms. The cladding of the structure with clinker at some parts and extensive use of broken natural slate shows concern towards the environment.

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References:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Gisel

http://www.archipicture.eu/Architekten/Schweiz/Gisel%20Ernst/Gisel%20Ernst.html#:~:text=In%20soon%20Ernst%20Gisel%20becam,as%20school%20and%20communal%20buildings.

Rasika Hivrekar
Author

A person who is passionate about art defines Rasika Hivrekar precisely, resonating with the meaning of her name. She is a final year architecture student. She believes self-expression is the best gift to mankind and loves exploring new avenues of it. Along with architecture, she is passionate about writing and music as well.

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