Instagram: Swiss architecture through the eyes of @lerichti

Today, we turn our attention to @lerichti. His account is not devoted to images of Swiss mountains but to Switzerland's architecture.

On Instagram you can follow accounts dedicated to just about any subject. Whether you are a devotee of cute hedgehogs, cross-eyed kittens  or ugly fruit and vegetables, there is something for everyone on Instagram. If architecture is your thing, you absolutely should follow Philipp Heer's account: @lerichti.

An all-consuming passion

Philipp has always loved taking photographs of beautiful buildings. He discovered this passion during his first travels as a teenager. For many years he kept his photos to himself but in 2014 his wife talked him into to posting his work on Instagram, where he now shares his architectural discoveries, most of which are Swiss buildings.

His photography displays a high degree of professionalism, both in terms of the care he puts into the accompanying texts and his aesthetic approach. But Philipp has no actual architecture experience as such. For this 38-year-old insurance specialist, architecture is first of all a passion – an all-consuming passion to which he devotes much of his spare time. Philipp spends many weekends on the road visiting sites of architectural interest and taking photos. In the evenings he has the time to interact with his Instagram community because he loves "exchanging views with them and discovering new things."

Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne

Swiss architecture: top quality on a small scale

Philipp is very knowledgeable about Swiss architecture, which he considers to be characterised by "sobriety and the highest quality". To his mind, Swiss architecture is fundamentally not an architecture that tries to dazzle: "You often have to take a second look to see what's really interesting." It is not insignificant that the greatest Swiss architects have built their most impressive buildings outside Switzerland. Corbusier and Herzog and de Meuron are cases in point. In Switzerland, architects have to adapt to the small size of the country: "There is not a lot of space in Switzerland for big projects."

Asked to name his favourite Swiss architect, Philipp finds it a difficult question to answer because the list is so long!  He particularly admires the work of Herzog and de Meuron, and acknowledges that his photos of the buildings of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who has had an office in Zurich for many years, are a big hit. Among talented young Swiss architects, Philip cites Buchner Bründler's architectural firm in Basel and Brauen and Wälchli in the canton of Vaud.

"Every time I go to Basel, I photograph the Congress Center."

Philip admires architects, and their buildings even more. Indeed, he says without hesitation that the exhibition building in Basel's Congress Center is his favourite piece of architecture in Switzerland. And he admits: "Every time I go to Basel, I make a point of taking photos of it. But I don't publish all the photos because they're often identical."

Lerichti Instagram
1. The «City lounge», part of the exhibition building in Basel's Congress Center . Designed par Herzog & de Meuron architects, 2010-2013. © Lerichti
2. The University of Lucerne, whose lines evoke the Matterhorn. Designed by Enzmann Fischer. Built in 2006-2011 © Lerichti

Switzerland or has Philipp completed his bucket list? "I would dearly love to photograph the Novartis Campus buildings, which were designed by the best architects in the world and are all located in one place. It's incredible! But unfortunately, taking photos is strictly prohibited on the campus.”

Philipp Heer's personal favourite is his photo of the University of Lucerne. Seen from the right angle, this building evokes the shape of Switzerland's most famous mountain, the Matterhorn.