Sunday, 9 September 2012

Landscape and Structures

Landscape and Structures presents civil engineering structures that serve traffic routes such as bridges, tunnels, passageways etc. built into the Swiss landscape. The book represents a personal inventory of civil engineer Jürg Conzett, photographed by Martin Linsi.

Landscape and Structures is composed according to geography and comprises man-made structures from all over Switzerland with an emphasis on works from Graubünden.

My favourites in terms of bridges are the Punt da Suransuns, a footbridge composed of slabs of Andeer gneiss that perfectly fit into the stony section of the Via Spluga long-distance footpath between Switzerland and Italy, and the Zweiter Travesiner Steg, a bridge with inclined stairs that also forms part of the same long-distance footpath.

Jürg Conzett writes how I imagine a civil engineer to write: not exactly easy to understand, that is: "Parallel-boom trussed girders, which were wonderfully efficient to manufacture, came to be seen in the early 20th century as 'boring, stiff and alien to the landscape' (Robert Moser). There emerged an aesthetic preference for 'more animated-looking girder designs' (in German: 'lebhaftere Umrisse für Fachwerkträger'), as evinced by this semi-parabolic girder." (Innbrücke Zernez der Rhätischen Bahn).

It is no small challenge to photograph bridge after bridge so that the viewer does not feel easily bored. Martin Linsi made good use of his imagination and must have done quite a bit of walking in order to find the different angles from where to take his pictures. The black and white photographs depict rural and urban scenes, old and new structures and facilities of various sizes. I was especially impressed by the pictures of the Susten Pass road - a sequence of images from close and afar that are put together in a most thoughtful and appealing way that makes you feel like you are not looking at pictures but at "the real thing".

Landscape and Structures
English / German
A personal inventory of Jürg Conzett,
photographed by Martin Linsi
Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich 2012  

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