© Benjamin Hofer

Experience building culture
– at first hand!

The permanent exhibition illuminates the key theme of building culture from three different perspectives. It focuses on changes in our landscape, architecture and historically significant buildings in everyday life, and handcrafted details. All three perspectives are needed for building culture to take shape. The exhibition occupies the unique historic premises on the ground floor of Villa Patumbah and forms the heart of the Swiss Heritage Center.
© James Batten

Under the titles “View from above”, “At eye level” and “In search of details”, building culture is examined from three different angles. Responsible spatial planning contributes to building culture just as much as the sensitive renovation of a historic townhouse, a carefully designed new building or a characteristic door handle.

In addition to immersing themselves in films, photographs and texts, visitors can always actively participate themselves: they can learn about changes in the landscape over the last hundred years with the help of a digital game or they can match various keys to the appropriate door lock. A highlight is heeding the call of our historic building oracle: “Choose your favourite from over 100 historic Swiss buildings, test your knowledge and receive a message for the road!”

Dauerausstellung-Baukultur-Intarsien Dauerausstellung-Baukultur-Intarsien
© Benjamin Hofer

Three films provide insights into the extensive restoration work at Villa Patumbah from 2010 to 2013. The restorers talk about the challenges of their work in the very rooms where they practised their craft. 

As the host institution, the Swiss Heritage Society also has a prominent place in the permanent exhibition. Its more than 100-year history is documented with important milestones and original newspapers. The graphics, type of text and subject matter reflect the spirit of the times, which likewise made their mark on the Swiss Heritage Society. Here too, the same rule applies, as visitors are encouraged to experience and explore at first hand.


© Christoph Oeschger
Exhibition concept, project management

Karin Artho, Swiss Heritage Society; Ariana Pradal


Swiss Heritage Society; Ariana Pradal

Exhibition architecture

gasser, derungs Innenarchitekturen

Exhibition graphics

Stillhart Konzept

AV planning

Tingo Gmbh

Exhibition construction

Glaeser Wogg AG

Financial support

Federal Office of Culture, Lottery Fund of the Canton of Zurich, City of Zurich Finance Department