Lütjens Padmanabhan mines architectural history to produce buildings with distinctive qualities attuned to contemporary construction

When one thinks of Swiss-German architecture, the images that come to mind might include comprehensive concrete structures or singular material assemblies. Instead, the work of the Zurich-based office Lütjens Padmanabhan, founded by Oliver Lütjens and Thomas Padmanabhan in 2007, explores thin, sheeted surfaces and buildings that draw attention to their composite makeup. The generation of architects that preceded them—Herzog & de Meuron and Diener & Diener especially—were “famous for the solidity and monolithic appearance of their buildings, where craft and construction formed one unity,” Padmanabhan said. He explained that the duo “entered our profession when the cost pressure of the market and the thickness of insulation was

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