The Chalet Talks Back: Swiss Vernacular Architecture Between Rousseauian Myths and Peasant Beliefs

Lecture by Nikolaos Magouliotis at Uni Kassel

Since the 18th century, the chalet is a compelling architectural topos, synonymous to a peaceful, romantic retreat. This myth was establishe by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and was perpetuated by several local and foreign travel-writers and architects. However, the lives of the peasants that actually built and lived in such vernacular buildings was anything but peaceful: at the mercy of harsh weather and disease, they lived in a constant state of precarity, which gave birth to a particular set of religious, cosmological and magical beliefs. This talk will try to reconstruct the voices and beliefs of these peasants by reading a series of inscriptions and other symbols that they painted and carved on their houses.

Nikos Magouliotis is an architectural historian and post-doc researcher at ETH Zurich, in the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta). His primary research focus is vernacular architecture, both as a historiographic construct and as a historical reality. Nikos is currently working within the SNSF-funded project "Building Identity: Character in Architectural Debate and Design, 1750-1850" (led by Sigrid de Jong and Maarten Delbeke), where he researches the reception of Swiss vernacular architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The lecture takes place in cooperation with the Department of Art and Knowledge.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

6 pm

FB 06 I ASL-Neubau
Universitätsplatz 9, EG I Room 105