My Great Outdoors: The Swiss Ambassador's Surreal Space

My Great Outdoors: The Swiss Ambassador's Surreal Space

Rachael Grad
Jun 5, 2009

Name: Urs Ziswiler, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States
Location: Washington, DC
Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: Contemporary, inspired by the snow-covered Swiss Alps. The outdoor space compliments the charcoal color concrete and sand-blasted translucent building exterior. The white sculpture tree is titled "air gets into everything even nothing" (2006) by artist Ugo Rondinone. Made from cast aluminum and white enamel, the sculpture is a cast of a 13-foot-high, thousand year-old tree in Southern Italy. The building has a green roof and is constructed according to environmentally-friendly "Swiss Minergie Standards."

How did you do it?: The design was a collaboration between architectural firms Rüssli Architekten (Lucern, Switzerland) and Steven Holl Architects (New York), who unanimously won a competition to design the residence in 2001. It was completed in 2006 but is constantly evolving. A recent addition is the white rock formations in the back outdoor space, which are lamps that light up at night.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? Anything Swiss!

(Images: Rachael Grad)

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