The Power of Mushrooms

Berta Rahm’s Pavilion for the Saffa 58
Wolfgang Pauli-Strasse 15, 08093 Zürich Map
Mon–Fri 8 am–10 pm, Sat 8 am–5 pm

Throughout the year we will investigate the recently rescued pavilion by Berta Rahm, originally built for the Schweizerische Ausstellung für Frauenarbeit in 1958, short Saffa 58. Departing from its built presence, the exhibition will revolve around the role of collaboration and collective effort in the repositioning of female architects in our histories and futures. An active programme in monthly stages, progressing both online and on-site, will make the exhibition grow.

Berta Rahm was one of the first Swiss women architects to study at ETH Zurich. In her professional capacity she designed and built single-family holiday homes and carried out numerous conversions, as well as realising the aluminium-clad pavilion for the Saffa 58. As a committed feminist she represented Switzerland at the founding of the Union Internationale des Femmes Architectes in Paris in 1963. Although she participated in many competitions and won awards, she never received a public commission. Throughout her life she struggled, as a single woman, to find a voice in the architectural field and ultimately gave up her profession to found the publishing house Ala in Zurich, specialising in feminist authors and themes.

Without the committed research and activism by female architects and art historians of the SNSF research project on the Saffa 58 and the efforts of the ProSaffa1958-Pavillon Association, the silvery pavilion would no longer exist. It is therefore the bearer of collective endeavours and hopes for the future – a future in which women architects are an integral and inherent part of the stories that are told and re-told.

The initial exhibition stage, Material Evidence, introduces the pavilion in a state of transition between storage and its potential to be rebuilt, whereby the inserted fragments of the pavilion will create new spaces in the exhibition areas for education, discourse and restoration, in turn allowing for a collective activism to grow into and beyond the institution like a mycelium of fungi.

This project is realised by the exhibition team Milena Buchwalder, Sonja Flury, Dorothee Hahn and Larissa Müllner on behalf of the ProSaffa1958-Pavillon Association, together with the directors of gta exhibitions Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen.

Save the dates for the growing exhibition in stages:

Material Evidence

Entangled Histories

Images of Berta