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Keywords Change this

Foma, Forgotten Masterpieces

Birth date / place

September 7th 1910, Chur, Switzerland

Selected Architecture


Practice / Active in Change this

Flims, Switzerland

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Article last edited by Julio Gotor V. on
March 15th, 2019

Rudolf Olgiati Change this

Change thisFlims, Switzerland
born 1910, Chur
1 of 1

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Rudolf Olgiati (Chur, 7 September 1910 – Flims, 25 September 1995) was a Swiss architect. Olgiati is known for his work with Alfred Werner Maurer on the French Riviera, and has had some of his more notable work exhibited in the 1977 ETH Zürich.

Olgiatis father was Oreste Olgiati; a lawyer and citizen of Poschiavo and Chur. In 1927, Olgiati graduated from the Grisons Canton School in Chur. He then studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, where he graduated in 1934, with Josef Zemp, in art history. Rudolf Olgiati worked as an architect, first in Zürich and starting in 1944 in Flims, where he had purchased a house back in 1930 and then proceeded to renovate it making it the family home. His son Valerio Olgiati is also active as an architect and lives in Flims in his father's house.

Rudolf Olgiati was a representative of the New Objectivity movement and one of the first architects in the mid-1950s to discover the importance and effectiveness of historical design principles for the architecture of modernity. Olgiati mainly built family houses in the mountainous region of Grisons, Switzerland, and restored old farmhouses and patrician houses, later also designed buildings in southern France and Germany together with Alfred Werner Maurer.

Olgiati's cubical use of forms moved between the priorities of Grison's local architectural tradition, the ancient Greek style, and modernism mainly oriented on Le Corbusier. Thus, Olgiati was striving for a universal, timeless, and radically modern architecture, equally documenting the influence of international architecture as well as the indigenous Swiss architecture; thereby always remaining aware of its ideological and formal context. With Olgiati, who never considered the use of traditional elements as restorative, architecture is combined with local traditions and with the place as such, which he claimed to remodel by creating an intimate relationship between the architecture and the local residents.

Olgiati's work has been exhibited in 1977 at ETH Zürich, in 1986 at the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg, in 1986 at the Technical University of Berlin, and in 1988 at the Art University Linz, Austria. In 1981, Olgiati received the Cultural Prize of the Canton of Grisons.

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