Portrait History

History and architecture

Student Center Bühlplatz

Gertrud Wokerstrasse 3 

The picture of a butterfly that has settled peacefully on rough pastures in the backyard is appropriate in terms of both the local context and the layout of the cafeteria building constructed in 1992 by Regina and Alain Gonthier. The building received ATU Prix recognition in 1993 and was singled out for the the Glulam Award in 1994 as an exemplary glulam construction.


The wooden structure with its radial attraction interprets, shapes and aligns a site that is difficult to build on without any unnecessary extravagance. The building is worthy of our attention not only due to its enhancement of space potential. To the north side, where a gallery has been inserted in the inflated dining hall, the roof rises softly and in doing so aligns, models and stimulates the interior and exterior of the building. The functional nature of the individual parts is clearly stated but not with a raised forefinger. The construction, which at the time of construction of the building was not infrequently used as an opportunity for image-cultivating escapades, demonstrates here quite clearly the sculptural and atmospheric opportunities offered by a construction material the acceptance of which is repeatedly having to be regained.

Mensa und Korridor

Alongside careful craftsmanship, the attentive observer will also discover in the building a high awareness and attention to detail in terms of structural consistency, masses and proportions. Those interested in architectural thinking will recognize in the south-facing window balcony an element designed with the minimum of outlay that formally rounds off the overall appearance, exerts a positive impact on the indoor climate as a provider of shade and not least serves as a practical means of facilitating building maintenance.