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Swiss Re Rüschlikon: Centre for Global Dialogue

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review

Kunsthaus Bregenz/Hatje Cantz, 2002. 192pp. £12.95. Distributed by Art Books International ( orders 01993 830000)

The excellent Kunsthaus Bregenz 'Werkdokumente' paperbacks feature projects in which collaboration (usually architect-artist) is to the fore, writes Andrew Mead . This latest volume documents in detail a scheme that has so far had little publicity in the UK but which, in some respects, might serve as a model.

The protagonists are the Swiss architect Meili, Peter; Swiss landscape architect Kienast Vogt; Viennese architect/designers Adolf Krischanitz and Hermann Czech; and the German artist Günther Förg.

The project is a 'think tank'and training centre for insurance company Swiss Re, on a site overlooking Lake Zurich. As well as new build, it incorporates, with modifications, a 19th-century villa (of no great merit), and grounds and gardens from that period. Though the design process is not discussed in as much detail as one might wish, what the 80 or more photographs in the book communicate is something truly collaborative - not communal subjugation to one dominant aesthetic in pursuit of a Gesamtkunstwerk , or, on the other hand, oblivious self-indulgence. The contributions of the main participants are distinct, but coexist harmoniously in the marriage of architecture, interior design and landscape, the new and the old. One need not admire each individual chair to applaud the principle that the book promotes.

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