Bio / Bibliographie

Born 1904 in Geneva, the son of a cabinetmaker, Jean Tschumi studies architecture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris in Emmanuel Pontremoli’s studio. To back up his studies, he regularly works for two leading Art Deco designers, Emile Jacques Ruhlmann and Edgar Brandt. He soon meets the sculptor Edouard Marcel Sandoz, one of the managers of Sandoz Chemical Works. As a result of their mutual respect, Tschumi will build all the laboratories and offices for Sandoz-France.

In 1943, the architect moves to Lausanne where he will teach architecture and city planning over fifteen years. After the Second World War, Tschumi resumes his activity in France. The head of two architectural agencies, one in Paris, one in Lausanne, he builds corporate buildings in France and Switzerland, in particular for Sandoz and Nestlé. His passion for technology, his fascination for the United States, brings him to elegant and unprecedented buildings in Europe.

His involvement into the foundation and development of the UIA, International Union of Architects, allows him to gain a precise knowledge of design problems, such as the international «modular coordination» of the standards applied to the industry of the building components or the interference between urban master plans and individual architectural projects.

In 1960, the International Reynolds Price for the use of aluminum in architecture was awarded to Jean Tschumi and his building of Nestlé headquarters in Vevey. The same year he won a 1st prize in the international competition for the OMS WHO palace in Geneva. At the age of 58, the architect died in the night express-train from Paris to Geneva. Jean Tschumi’s son, Bernard, was born in Lausanne in 1944. He was eighteen when his father died.

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