Portrait History

History and architecture

Former cant. post-graduate seminar

Muesmattstrasse 27

What superficial observers often overlook by attempting to classify the former graduate seminar with style labels is that the romantic exterior resembling a small castle is closely connected with the function of the building.


The fact that Friedrich Bürgi, who constructed the building in 1904, signed the planning application as "architect and teacher" shows that the interests of pedagogics played a significant role in the realization of the project. The building composed of neo-Gothic elements and Art Nouveau ornaments can be considered the architectural implementation of a progressive educational body of thought.  The former Graduate Seminar is in fact one of the most attractive of many school buildings that openly draw on Gothic architectural traditions. The linking of social reform and idealization of the Gothic style was a widespread theme in architecture – from John Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts Movement through to the Bauhaus with its founding manifesto portraying a stylized cathedral. Put simply, the Gothic stonemason was the prototype for the image of a balanced person to whose personality mind, hand and heart make equal contributions.


The decoration of the building carried out to a high standard of craftsmanship – as well as the sculptures the wrought iron, ornamental painting and woodwork are particularly worthy of mention – is therefore more than the customary representative embellishment as it also conveys a moral appeal to the users not to forget sensuousness, tactility and beauty alongside intellectual abilities in education.

The building was carefully restored between 1984 and 1989 by the architecture firm of Andreas Furrer and included the installation of a library on the top floor.


Cantonal Construction Department (ed.), University of Bern, Educational Sciences, Umnutzung Areal Muesmatt, Bern 1989