Otto Ernst Swiss

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Otto Ernst Schweizer (around 1960)

Otto Ernst Schweizer (born April 27, 1890 in Schramberg ; † November 14, 1965 in Baden-Baden ) was a German architect , construction clerk and university professor .

Training as an urban planner

Schweizer attended elementary school in Schramberg and secondary school in Rottweil , where he graduated from “Reife für Prima” in 1906 and began his training as a geometer . He completed this from 1906 to 1912 in the cadastral offices of Schramberg and Neuenbürg as well as at the Königlich Württembergische Baugewerkschule Stuttgart . He passed the state examination as a surveyor in 1912.

In the winter semester of 1914/15 he began studying architecture as an "extraordinary student" at the Technical University of Stuttgart , while at the same time preparing for the final examination at the secondary school in Ludwigsburg , which he successfully passed in June 1915 as an "extraordinary participant". After two semesters he moved from Stuttgart to the Technical University of Munich , where he mainly studied with Theodor Fischer . In the summer of 1917 he passed the main diploma examination "with distinction". In 1917 he began his work in the construction office of the Bayrische Geschützwerke Friedrich Krupp KG in Munich-Freimann, where he carried out planning work under the direction of his former teacher Theodor Fischer. From 1919 to 1920 he was deputy city architect in his home town of Schramberg. After he had worked as an urban planning specialist in the urban expansion office in Stuttgart for the following year, he passed the 2nd state examination in building construction and became a government master builder ( assessor ). In the same year he married Gertrud Schlauder (1898–1981) and one year later became the father of a son (Hanspeter). From 1921 to 1925 he was the town planner in Schwäbisch Gmünd . From 1925 to 1929 he was senior town planner and head of the new building department and department for building advice and monument preservation in Nuremberg .

Administration building Milchhof in Nuremberg 1930
College building II of the University of Freiburg, 1955–1961

Freelance architect and university lecturer

In 1928, Schweizer received the gold medal of the architecture department for the facilities of the Nuremberg Frankenstadion in the IX art competition. Olympic Games in Amsterdam . In 1929, after leaving the civil service, he worked as a freelance architect in Nuremberg for a year. His success in building the Nuremberg stadium facilities led to participation in the competition to build the Prater Stadium in Vienna, which he won. From 1929 to 1931, Schweizer's most extensive major construction project was realized.

In 1930 he was appointed to the chair for urban building construction, housing and settlement at the Technical University of Karlsruhe , which he held until his retirement in 1960. From 1935 to 1937, Adolf Bayer was his assistant, and from 1961 he followed him in urban planning at the TH Karlsruhe. In 1937 he was appointed a member of the Reich Examination Office. The following year he turned down the call to build and teach in Turkey. The proposal to appoint Swiss people to a chair at the Technical University of Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1941 was rejected by the Reich Ministry of Science, Education and National Education .

After the Second World War he became a member of the advisory board for reconstruction issues and acted as a liaison between the governments of North Baden and North Württemberg . In 1948 he became a member of the Conseil Supérieur d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (CSAU) set up by the French military government . In 1949 the preparatory committee appointed him to the planning council for the establishment of a provisional government center in Bonn . From 1950 to 1954 Schweizer worked as an urban planning consultant for the city of Mannheim and participated with a design in the competition for the new building of the Mannheim National Theater .


Schweizer's work received several awards in the 1950s. The Technical University of Stuttgart awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1950 . In 1951 he received an invitation to participate in the Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in Hoddesdon, Great Britain. After he became a full member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1955 , his hometown Schramberg made him an honorary citizen on April 27, 1960 . In the same year he also received the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany , in that year he was retired. In the following years he was awarded the title of Honorary Senator of the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg im Breisgau and an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Vienna .

Otto Ernst Schweizer died on November 14, 1965 in Baden-Baden at the age of 75. He was buried in his birthplace Schramberg.

Buildings and designs (selection)

  • 1925–1926: Employment Office in Nuremberg, Karl-Grillenberger-Strasse 3
  • 1926–1927: Planetarium in Nuremberg, near Laufer Tor (demolished in 1934)
  • 1927–1928: “Städtisches Stadion” in Nuremberg (later “Frankenstadion”), predecessor of today's “ Max-Morlock-Stadion
  • 1928–1931: "Praterstadion" in Vienna, today: " Ernst Happel Stadium "
  • 1929–1930: municipal milk farm in Nuremberg, Kressengartenstrasse. Completely demolished in 2008 except for the renovated administration building.
  • 1936: Design of the ideal center - the cultural, art and sports center of a large city
  • 1955–1961: Kollegiengebäude II of the University of Freiburg


An extensive estate from Swiss is in the Southwest German Archive for Architecture and Civil Engineering (SAAI).

The Swiss holdings are one of the SAAI's outstanding holdings in terms of scope, graphic quality and historical significance. With documents on 187 projects and completed buildings in the entire German-speaking area.

The Swiss holdings include documents from his work as a surveyor from the time before the First World War, documents from his studies in Munich with Theodor Fischer, as well as numerous testimonies to his work as a freelance architect and construction clerk for municipal administrations, as well as extensive archives on his teaching activities as a professor of urban building construction , Housing and settlement at the Technical University in Karlsruhe. The architect's widow, Gertrud Schweizer, transferred these materials to the archive in 1976, which were put into an initial order when they were taken over. At the end of the 1980s, Immo Boyken sifted through the holdings in preparation for his work monograph and put them in order. In 2006 the entire estate was sorted, recorded in its holdings and entered into the SAAI database. The more than 11,000 recorded plans and around 10,500 other archival materials are thus made accessible to research for new questions. The inventory showed that in addition to the usual project-related stocks such as plans, sketches and blueprints, numerous newspaper clippings, cultural journals and sketchbooks with marginal notes, letters, photos and models as well as manuscripts of his publications, even lecture documents and correspondence with important personalities of our century, for example Wassily Kandinsky. These materials provide impressive evidence of Otto Ernst Schweizer's universal artistic and architectural aspirations and identify him in his humanistic self-image as the “homo universalis” of the 20th century.

The holdings are supplemented by Schweizer's library, which includes fiction and specialist literature from Homer to Ernst Neufert, from Balzac to Le Corbusier, and has a lasting impact on the image of this unusual architect. Schweizer's omnipresent urge to express his ideas in architectural forms is most clearly evident in numerous sketches on serviettes, brochures, even on menu cards, on objects of everyday life, which he also used in social gatherings to write down his planning ideas. A similar picture is reflected in the countless newspaper clippings, letters and quickly thrown sketches that Schweizer kept, sorted by keyword. The contents of these thematically arranged materials according to an individual system range from building design theory to typological issues, building and art history to theoretical-philosophical topics such as "organic", "etheric" or "irrational" and served the Swiss as a source of inspiration within his intellectual , a design process guided by abstract ideals. Architectural considerations come alongside philosophical and sociological aspects, for example when he draws the historical arc from the ancient Greek stadium to the Roman amphitheater to the modern competition arena of his day in the case of sports buildings, carries out statistical surveys on the flow of traffic or visibility and all of this in a contemporary architecture seeks to merge, which, as with the large sports facilities for Vienna and Nuremberg, goes new and epoch-making paths not only from a functional but also from an aesthetic point of view. All these efforts can be traced in the existing archive material.

Schweizer's buildings convey only a small part of what he saw as the basis of his work and what he tried to convey as a professor at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. Ideas and conceptions are bundled in them without revealing their origin to the viewer. The materials stored in the SAAI, however, in their now completed order, provide a fascinating insight into the architect's movement, they allow insights into his studio, into the architect's workshop, in which orientations and upheavals can be announced and understood long before they manifest themselves in the building .


  • The problem of the urban expansion of Gmünd . In: Walter Klein: Gmünder Kunst der Gegenwart, Stuttgart: greiner & Pfeiffer 1924 (Gmünder Kunst; 4), pp. 49–59.
  • About the basics of architectural creation: With work by students from the Technical University of Karlsruhe from 1930/34 . J. Hoffmann, Stuttgart 1935.
  • Sports buildings and baths . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1938, reprint 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-136783-5 .
  • On the urban reorganization of Karlsruhe. From a proposal requested by the Karlsruhe city council in 1943. To be used by students of the Technical University of Karlsruhe for urban planning tasks . Karlsruhe 1948
  • The reconstruction of destroyed cities . Kairos-Verlag, Baden-Baden 1949 (The moment, a current series of publications, issue 2).
  • Demarcation of the housing requirement up to 1980 and proposals for the densification of low-rise buildings for social housing. A contribution to the order of the urban organism . With the collaboration of Hans Dommer (publications by the Research Association for Building and Living, 44). Stuttgart 1956.
  • The large architectural form: the built and the imagined . Braun, Karlsruhe 1957.
  • Research and teaching . Krämer, Stuttgart 1962


  • Justus Bier: Otto Ernst Schweizer , Berlin [a. a.]: Hübsch 1929.
  • Justus Bier: The Nuremberg stadium buildings by Otto Ernst Schweizer . In: Der Baumeister , Vol. 27, 1929, pp. 1–17.
  • Immo Boyken: Otto Ernst Schweizer (1890–1965). Buildings and projects. Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-930698-01-3 .
  • Klaus Jonski: Elisabeth Moll from Mittelbiberach. A "pearl" reports from her life. In: Heimatkundliche Blätter for the Biberach district , 19th year 1996, issue 1, pp. 28–47, ISSN  1430-9475 (memories of Otto Ernst Schweizer's long-time housekeeper)
  • Immo Boyken: Swiss, Otto Ernst. In: Baden-Württembergische Biographien , Volume III, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 978-3-17-017332-3 , pp. 378-380.
  • Sebastian Parzer: "Mannheim should not just be reborn as a city of work ...". The second term of office of the Lord Mayor of Mannheim Hermann Heimerich (1949–1955). (= Mannheimer historical writings, 1.) Ubstadt-Weiher 2008, ISBN 978-3-89735-545-3 , pp. 71–79 and pp. 142–148.
  • Klaus Richrath (Ed.): Assistants and employees of Professor Dr.-Ing. Eh Otto Ernst Swiss. Memories, episodes, interpretations, own work. Karlsruhe 2005.
  • Hans Hekler: Honorary Citizen Otto Ernst Schweizer, one of the great architects of the twentieth century , in " D'Kräz ", Contributions to the History of the City and Raumschaft Schramberg , Issue 30 (2010), pp. 33–43
  • Hans Hekler: Honorary Citizen Otto Ernst Schweizer and his family - Gertrud Schweizer, the "Frau Professor" , in " D'Kräz ", Contributions to the History of the City and Area Schramberg , Issue 31 (2011), pp. 11-18
  • Hans Hekler: Highly praised as a very great architect on the 50th anniversary of Otto Ernst Schweizer's death, in “ Schwarzwälder Bote ”, number 264 (November 14, 2015); online here

Web links

Commons : Otto Ernst Schweizer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The “Reife für Prima” meant the successful completion of the 11th grade and was a prerequisite for training as a geometer.
  2. ^ Justus Bier: The Nuremberg stadium buildings by Otto Ernst Schweizer . In: The builder . tape 27 , 1929, pp. 1-17 .