Photos from Switzerland’s First High Rise

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Photos from Switzerland’s First High Rise

To many Swiss, the Lochergut seemed like the foreboding of an impersonal and dystopian future.
March 10, 2016, 1:10pm

All pictures published with the kind permission of Havelka Verlag.

This article originally appeared on VICE Alps.

For years, people in Zürich only knew high rises from photos of New York and Fritz Lang's film Metropolis. That changed when a housing crisis in the 1950s drove the city council to buy a four-acre plot from the company Locher. Plans for a completely new housing project—a modern high rise—was put before the people of Zürich in a referendum, who approved the plans with an 85 percent majority.

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The new building, christened "the Lochergut," was finished in 1966. Despite the results of the referendum, the sheer height and density of the building was met with resistance by many Swiss, who had always known their spaces to be relatively vast and open. The fact that the complex was outside the city at the time didn't do much to calm the debate.

The Lochergut was the first taste of big city in Switzerland. Never had so many apartments been built on such a small patch of land. To some Swiss, it seemed like a foreboding of an impersonal and dystopian future. Every part of the Lochergut was an experiment: from the purely functional way the size of the apartments were calculated to the cultural diversity of the tenants to the window design and the size of the lifts.

A recent exhibition in Zürich called True Love Lochergut centered on the people who've lived there at some point during the past 50 years. It featured art projects, interviews, and portraits, presented together with snapshots taken by the inhabitants. Below is a sampling from that exhibit.

Scroll down for more pictures.