Helvetia, Extension of Head Office, South and East Wing
St. Gallen, Switzerland
Competition 1989, project 1998-1999, realization 2000–2002

The head office of Helvetia insurance is located on top of the Girtannersberg, raised above the town of St. Gallen, and in the vicinity of other large building complexes.

The extensions by Herzog & de Meuron of the existing cruciform complex are designed to create a functional and contextual organism arranged around four distinctly different courtyards. The buildings added on to the end of the existing cruciform arms each vary in size and structural system in response to the respective topographic and urban context.

The first two of the planned extensions have finally been completed, many years after the competition (>058) of 1989. They are narrow, glazed structures oriented towards the city. The room-height windows, mounted with a slight twist of their vertical or horizontal axis, reflect the garden, the sky and the neighboring buildings, giving the façade a dynamic, kaleidoscopic appearance. Inside the building, each workplace enjoys a different spatial environment due to the slanted glazing in every window. Helvetia in St. Gallen represents the attempt to manipulate an efficient, modernist, “Mies-ian” steel/glass structure in order to create both a more individual, more intimate atmosphere inside and a more complex architectural interaction outside.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2002


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partner: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron
Project Architect: Erich Diserens (Associate)
Project Team: Sarosh Anklesaria, Stephan Brunner, Mathias Frey, Anna Fuchs, Reto Oechslin, Patrick Remund

Helvetia Versicherungen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

General Planning: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Architect Planning: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: Grünenfelder & Lorenz AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Mechanical Engineering: Thomas Baumgartner, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Electrical Engineering: Bühler + Scherler AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Landscape Design: Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich, Switzerland

Specialist / Consulting:
Facade Consulting: Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG, Münchenstein, Switzerland
Building Physics: Studer Bauphysik, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Acoustics: Lienhard Bau- und Raumakustik, Langenbruck, Switzerland

Building Data:
Site Area: ca 20,000sqm / 215,280sqft
Building Footprint: 900sqm / 9,687sqft
Building Dimensions: Length: south wing 62m / 203ft, east wing 36m / 118ft; Width: south wing 9m / 29ft, east wing 9m / 29ft
Gross Floor Area: 4,300sqm / 46,285sqtf


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Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2008. Vol. No. 4.

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: Herzog & de Meuron 1997-2001. The Complete Works. Volume 4.
Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2008. Vol. No. 4.

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2nd rev. ed. Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2007.

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Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 08.2006.

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Vol. No. 109/110, Madrid, El Croquis, 2002.

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3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (= Studiopaperback).