Hans Fischli was one of the first generation modernist architects who had extensively worked with Bauhaus. Born on October 9th, 1909, Hans Fischli was an architect, painter, sculptor, and publicist. He believed in the role of a Rebel and Diplomat, an ideology which he used in many of his buildings. Hans joined architecture through an apprenticeship as a draftsman rather than going to a university. He believed “go up the path from below through handicrafts rather than staying at a university”. Although later Hans did join Bauhaus for a year but left it due to financial reasons. Hans’s beliefs of objectivity in architecture, solid craftsmanship, comprehensive knowledge of materials, design, inventors, and right proportions, and his belief in the responsibility of architects towards society, money, and environment can all be credited to Bauhaus. A vast influence of Paul Klee’s work can also be observed in Hans’ work as Paul was Hans’ mentor during his early years in practice. Hans was also an adjunct to Hans Hoffmann in the Swizz national exhibition. 

1. Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl, Zurich

Hans Fischli worked and designed these structures when he was working for Rudolf Steiger and Carl Hubacher in Zurich before opening his firm. The Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl is considered a prototype and one of the most significant constructions in marking the beginning of the New Style of construction. Located on a green ridge near a lake the settlement provides and corresponds to sunlight, air, and open space amply. The settlement was planned along a central spine along with the topography with perpendicularly cut roads and stacked row houses such that each house gets a view and feel of the landscape. The modular construction of the settlement along with flat roofs, ribbon windows, and bright facades along with specific cubism in the buildings creates a unified settlement look. 

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 Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl ©www.wikipedia.org
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Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl ©www.wikipedia.org

2. Schlehstud house, Obermeilen, Switzerland 1933

Fischli describes Schlehstud’s house as the ‘Cell of the Bauhaus Spirit’. He did this house shortly after the completion of his education at the Bauhaus. Schlehstud House is made with wooden paneling and steel skeleton construction. This experimentation in material shows his closeness to his then teacher Paul Klee since wood was not considered a modern material then like concrete but Fischli wanted to show that wood and mildew did not exclude each other but blended as organic material. The roof of the house is flat which again was controversial as after the construction of Schlehstud House the authorities issued a ban on them. The house has large windows along with an impressively raised diagonal staircase along its north façade. The building shows a certain ‘Translucency’ with its interaction of the inside and outside spaces. The building has a simple building structure with a deep connection to the industrial production of that time. 

Schlehstud house, Obermeilen, Switzerland 1933 - Sheet1
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Schlehstud house ©www.daddytypes.com/2010/09/19/hans_fischli_architect_son_father.php

3. Adolf Feller AG Factory 

Adolf Feller was a swizz manufacturer of electrical products. Hans Fischli made this Factory for him after World War 2 in 1953. A change in Hans’ ideals after the war are visible in this design. His emphasis on a natural positive light, the ideal glaze free northeast light, and north light from the long zigzag windows to provide self-shading. The structural steel skeleton giving the characteristics of very flexible space that can be expanded. The plan boils down to 3 large rectangles each being divided into various spaces on a grid. The grid planning also facilitates the planning and location of the North light truss. The diffused light environment of the building has a musical effect and increased the working standards of the factory. 

Adolf Feller AG Factory  - Sheet1
 Adolf Feller AG gallery ©www.elarafritzenwalden.tumblr.com/post/188284140710/extension-building-for-adolf-feller-ag-horgen/embed
Adolf Feller AG Factory  - Sheet2
 Adolf Feller AG gallery ©www.elarafritzenwalden.tumblr.com/post/188284140710/extension-building-for-adolf-feller-ag-horgen/embed

4. Pestalozzi Children’s Village

The Pestalozzi village was designed by Hans Fischer along with many other professionals from academic, training, management, hospitality background to create a wholesome environment for the students from the 12 countries to come, stay, learn and create a small world where children can be brought up without restrictions and boundaries, learning about their nationality as well as the nationality of their peers. It emphasized the removal of cultural and social differences through art, architecture, and learning. Each house was assigned to one country where the students of the nationality can stay with a father and a teacher common to all. The house was designed around a “living room concept’’ with a large gathering area centrally located, where students can play and perform group activities together. It focused on Individualism as much as the importance of being a team player. 

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 Pestalozzi Children’s Village ©www.wikiwand.com
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5. Siedlung Gwad settlement, Zurich

Siedlung Gwad is considered one of the only genuine modernist housing schemes back in 1940s Switzerland. It is considered to have a unique form and deep integration of housing with the landscape. Due to the slope, Hans Fischli was able to create nine parallel rows of houses with a few single families staggered here and there. Optimal lighting, Flat roofs, properly planned pathways, and unobstructed view of the Lake are some of the characteristics of the housing structures. 

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 Siedlung Gwad settlement ©www.baukultur-waedenswil.ch/anhang-jsw-1993-von-peter-ziegler-711.html
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Siedlung Gwad settlement ©www.baukultur-waedenswil.ch/anhang-jsw-1993-von-peter-ziegler-711.html

6. Hangenmoos settlement, Wädenswil

Hangenmoos Settlements were originally designed by Hans Fischli from 1968-1973. They are five-storied residential apartments, made with various luxuries in mind. The apartments have now been expanded and refurbished.

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7. Villa Guggenbühl, Herrliberg, Zurich

This house was designed by Hans Fischli in 1960/61. Based on a square plan with a flat roof, Fischli had this idea for the house that one should be able to see through to the yard as one enters the house. The House features a central atrium with a stone as the centerpiece. This Geometrical atrium with centerpiece stone was a signature of Hans which is later seen in most villas he designed. 

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 Villa Guggenbühl ©www.world-architects.com/en/nik-biedermann-architekt-zurich/project/machbarkeitsstudie-villa-guggenbuhl

8. Zett House, Zurich 

This was designed by Hans Fischli when he was working under Rudolf Steiger and Carl Hubacher in Zurich before opening his studio. It is a classic Bauhaus building concerning its floor plans and materials with a façade designed in artificial insulated artificial cork stone. 

Zett House, Zurich 
 Zett House ©www.pinterest.com

9. Bell lui Sanatorium, Crans Montana

This again was designed by Hans Fischli when he was working under Rudolf Steiger and Carl Hubacher in Zurich before opening his studio. In 2017, this Sanatorium was converted into a boys hostel. 

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 Bell lui Sanatorium ©www.youthhostel.ch
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 Bell lui Sanatorium ©www.youthhostel.ch
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Bell lui Sanatorium ©www.youthhostel.ch
Anushri Kulkarni
Author

Anushri Kulkarni is a 24-year-old, Mumbai based architect with a passion for green architecture. She is a voracious reader and consumes all genres with equal gusto. Apart from being an architect, she is also a budding architecture and interior photographer.

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