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Faith in the City: Foreign Architects Switzerland

Foreign Architects Switzerland: Another Shitty Day in Paradise


Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. extract from speech in 1997 by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (later Prime Minister of Turkey)

Miss-using such statements as evidence, conservative Swiss politicians launched an all-out assault on what they perceived as an ideological invasion, the “Islamification of Switzerland.” Swiss voters shocked the world in 2009 with a nation-wide ban on the construction of minarets, ending centuries of neutrality and effectively declaring a figurative war with Islam, all through symbols, gestures, and underhandedly bigoted propaganda.

Upset that architecture was being misused (and under-utilized, considered only as a symbol) in this phony war, FAS launched an ideas competition for an Islamic Center in the center of Zurich. Charging architects with the task of bringing a Mosque to Zurich, and bringing Zurich into a mosque; the competition sought to consider how architecture can expedite social conflict in the city by stitching together disparate programs and people. This talk reflects on the political involvement of architects, provides perspectives on the causes of the notorious ban, and presents select proposals from the Islamic Center competition that call into question the enclosed nature of the historical type, the ubiquitous global economy, and the defensibility of ideas.


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FAS is a platform for ideas, projects, and people that remain illegitimate to the brain-dead, incestuous architectural media of Switzerland.


FAS Manifesto


Dearest Switzerland,

We met some time ago. (I believe it was a party) We were the rest of the world. (We were the maids.) We had a love child. Her name is FAS. (Foreign Architects Switzerland) We thought it best that s

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