I encountered Peter Märkli during the work on the master thesis at TU/e. The overall theme for the thesis was “Masterly Apprenticeship” and we were supposed to analyse the peculiar relations between masters and their apprentices in Swiss architectural education system. For the individual research part each of us picked one architect and had to put himself in a position of his apprentice. I picked Peter Märkli and quickly became fascinated with his ways of approaching and understanding architecture.
Märkli’s education started in 70’s and consisted of three main pillars: the academic environment of ETH, which was at that time hugely preoccupied with sociological concerns, Rudolf Olgiati, an architect from Graubünden canton who explored the themes of local architecture and assigned specific meaning to it’s elements, and a sculptor Hans Josephson, for whose sculptures Pater Märkli later designed the famous La Congiunta museum in Giornico, Italy.
What Peter Märkli learnt from Rudolf Olgiati was mainly the elementary language of architecture expressed by the houses of the latter. He talks about how Olgiati explained him the meaning of single elements like columns or walls thus enabling him to create his own language. It can now be seen in Märkli’s projects: how he uses the particular elements to achieve certain atmospheres.
The quality I particularly appreciated about his projects was the sense of timelessness and tranquility of the space. One might say that the materials used are not particularly homely or warm but I do sense the feeling of solidity and longevity, which for me provide the mood of a shelter.
For more information about Peter Märklitake a look at:
Peter Märkli on Education Research and Practice in Architecture - interview by Jan Schevers
Approximations: The Architecture of Peter Märkli by Mohsen Mostafavi
Rudolf Olgiati Bauen mit den Sinnen by Ursula Riederer