Keywords:Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing
For George Everard Kidder Smith, the Protestant Church at Altstetten (a former Zurich suburb, integrated in 1934) was “unquestionably the finest Modern church in Switzerland, and possibly anywhere else”. In his famous anthology of Swiss architecture from 1950, he points out that it embodies on the one hand “almost all the church building philosophy which both the protestants and catholics have sought: one room of simplicity and dignity, binding the pulpit and the altar to the congregation in respectful unity”. On the other hand, he was interested in the fact that the church, built on the edge of a low hill, seeks a subtle relationship with an old village church that the congregation had outgrown. Instead of destroying it, Moser “carefully preserved and related it to the new by the angle and space relation between them and by the repetition of a mutual eave height.” With a few words, Kidder Smith succeeded in capturing the double interest that Moser’s building represents even today. As a matter of fact, the church center’s interiors are, as well as the exteriors, wonderfully calibrated, fragile compositions that fascinate us for their typically undogmatic combination of modern and conventional materials and (decorative) forms, but also for Moser’s informal but precise dealings with the architectural heritage. It is immediately understandable that renovating and extending this building complex was quite a challenge.