published: April 22, 2011, recorded: April 2011, views: 3512
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Simon Hartmann is a Swiss architect and one of the founding partners of HHF architects based in Basel since 2003. His office belongs to a group of emerging Swiss practices that represent a third generation in the phenomenal history of recent Swiss Architecture during the past 30 years. The first generation was defined by the meanwhile old masters such as Herzog & De Meuron, Diener & Diener, Peter Zumthor and Peter Märkli, the heroic generation that built the epic saga of Swiss minimalism as a national cultural brand of contemporary Switzerland. The second generation was constituted by architects that grew out of the old masters’ offices, such as Gigon & Guyer, Morger Degelo, Miller & Maranta – a generation of devoted disciples standing so strongly under the design spell of their father figures that they basically drilled their footsteps deeper in the ground without looking for genuinely new paths of exploration. The third generation meanwhile, constituted by architects such as HHF, EM2N, E2A, POOL, and Christ & Gantenbein, had to break free of their ancestors to some extent in a way to prevent thinning their blood any further and did so by broadening the field of architectural inspirations beyond Switzerland. It is the first generation of Swiss Architecture that is no longer purely analog in a double sense of the word – growing up self-evidently with digital design tools but also growing out of the influence of Analogue Architecture, the dominating design ideology of post-functionalist Swiss Architecture and its secret homeopathic remedy against Post-modernism. Curiously participating in the international discourse of contemporary architecture, HHF don’t restrain their archtitectural activities to their home turf, but are keen on working in broadly different contexts such as Germany, China, Mexico and the USA.
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