Architect Roger Boltshauser positioned his design in the “groove” first made by the architecture of the Maison de Verre which is characterised by “bare” materials and transparency of forms. In the new building the way in which the functions are made legible is entirely in accordance with this early modernism. “Troublemakers” that line the internal world, for example elements for the lighting and building services, are intended to be visible. The same applies to the signage.
On this account architect Roger Boltshauser involved Atelier Andrea Gassner at an early planning stage. In designing the directional system in this new, nine-storey building the principalfunctional challenges were the diversity of the spatial structure and functions as well as fluctuations in staff and functional demands that were to be expected. In all zones of the central orientation, sub-orientation (storey areas) and detail orientation (room identification) flexibility and changeability in the messages were called for.
Already in the first design study Atelier Andrea Gassner placed the emphasis on digital LED display technology and transmission by means of screens. All the screens, including the wall graphics in the outdoor area, can be centrally controlled. Reflecting the nature of the architectural design, the materialisation envisages an archaic technoid idiom – glass, oiled steel, light concrete. The building blocks of the graphic design include a special dot lettering developed for different grain sizes as well as a symbol program that uses the mould material for the sans serif letters “E T H”. This design concept allows pattern sequences and abstract typographical repeats in a horizontal and vertical direction for floors, walls, and single elements. The square provides the basis for the individual symbols and allows seamless use as partial inlays in the architect-specified mood board with glass blocks or tiling. The general concept for uniform signage in all ETH main and ancillary buildings that was introduced in 2019 prevented this individual proposal from being realised.