Constructive Abundance: Theo Hotz Partner Architects

Organizer: gta Exhibitions
Date: Thursday, 14 September 2023 to Friday, 13 October 2023

Constructive Abundance: Theo Hotz Partner Architects
Opening: Wednesday, 13.09., 6 pm

A collaboration between the Chair of Construction Heritage and Preservation, gta exhibitions and the gta Archive.

The exhibition Constructive Abundance: Theo Hotz Partner Architects, which coincides with the conference “High-Tech Heritage: (Im)permanence of Innovation”, offers a new perspective on selected projects by the architecture practice of Theo Hotz (since 2011 Theo Hotz Partner Architects). The exhibition focusses on the vast range of constructive elements in the office’s oeuvre, shedding light on their technical as well as their aesthetic relevance, and venturing a reading that complexifies the modest technical form that is so often ascribed to Hotz to one of richness in artistry. This perspective brings together positions that have otherwise often simplistically been seen as paradoxes: high-tech vs. heritage or innovation vs. conservation. It is Hotz’s specific position in what has been categorized as high-tech architecture that prompts its current re-examination, namely in terms of how to deal with the conservation of such buildings in the future.

From 1970 onwards Theo Hotz and his partners significantly shaped the architectural landscape of Switzerland. Their innovative solutions in facade construction in particular are an important contribution to the Swiss architectural and building discourse, and their projects are the very images of technological, logistical and economical precision. The machine-like shell of the Zurich-Mülligen Postal Operations Centre (1985), the double glass facade of the Grünenhof Conference Building (1991), and the yellow-highlighted building elements of the Herdern Telecommunications Centre (1978) – all of them house workflows that match their expression. At first sight, these are paradigms of efficiency, without surplus. On closer inspection, however, their details reveal a value that is manifested in high-quality materials and intricate design.

In this sense, the exhibition also expands on a previous examination of Hotz’s work – the exhibition Theo Hotz: Architecture 1949–2002, which took place at ETH Zurich in 2002 and had as a premise the noticeable absence of “the symbolic exaggeration of construction, as exemplified by the bearing structure of the Centre Pompidou or by Norman Foster’s Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank”. Pointing to high-tech architecture at the node of modernist functionalism and the pastiche of postmodernism, the previous exhibition’s objective was a monographic survey of Hotz’s work. Here the focus is on detail, postulated as the defining factor in the office’s design process and the final aesthetic expression of Hotz’s building. Correspondingly it highlights the importance of collaboration, and indeed the complete overlap between architects’ designs, the structural expertise of engineers and metal craftsmanship. Selected models, drawings, photographs and planning documents from the office’s past work reveal a richness and playfulness in their detailed facades and construction solutions.


The opening will take place at 6 pm on Wednesday 13 September 2023 at gta exhibitions on the ETH Campus Hönggerberg. It will include a keynote speech by Peter Berger (Theo Hotz Partner Architects) and welcome introductions by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen (gta exhibitions) and Silke Langenberg (Chair for Construction Heritage and Preservation).

The conference “High-Tech Heritage: (Im)permanence of Innovation” focuses on the structural and material heritage of high-tech architecture between the 1970s and 1990s. International contributors from the fields of theory and practice will discuss the challenges and opportunities of preserving innovative building constructions.

The conference will be held at ETH Zurich from 14 to 16 September 2023 as a collaboration between ETH Zurich (Prof. Dr. Silke Langenberg, Construction Heritage and Preservation) and Bauhaus University Weimar (Prof. em. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Meier, Historic Preservation and Building History).

For more information on the conference visit: