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Stunning architecture in the Surselva region

On my summer getaway to Grisons, I stopped in Flims, Vals and some smaller towns in the Rhine valley. My quest: to follow in the footsteps of some of the best architects and discover their marvels.

Architecture of the Disentis Monastery in Switzerland

My last stop on this journey was Disentis, home to one of Switzerland’s oldest Benedictine monasteries. Here is the must-see architecture in the Surselva region:

Kloster Disentis

The Disentis Abbey is the owner of the Chapel and this is where we are headed next. It dates back to 720 and is one of the oldest Benedictine monasteries in Switzerland. These days, it offers rooms inside the complex that was built between 1696 and 1712.

Architecture of the Disentis Monastery in Switzerland
Architecture of the Disentis Monastery in Switzerland

Gymnasium Kloster Disentis

The Disentis monastery school was first mentioned in 1285. In the 19th century, it evolved to a high school, and Swiss baccalaureate exams have been taken here since 1936. Today, there are around 160 students.

The "Gymnasium" building was designed by Hermann and Hans Peter Baur and was built between 1969 and 1973. Its concrete architecture contrasts interestingly with the monastery.

The Disentis monastery boarding school for young women

Around a third of the students live in boarding school. While the male student dorms are located inside the monastery’s main building, the girls age 14 to 18 live in the lower house, designed in 2005 by Gion A. Caminada. Each floor has its own communal living space that evolves around a sculptural staircase.

Senneria Surselva

A ten-minute walk from the monastery on the road to the Lukmanier Pass, we find the Senneria Surselva. This alpine cheese factory is operated by Bergsenn AG. The concrete factory building with its grassy roof was designed by Gion A. Caminada and inaugurated in 2011.

The publicly accessible section of the interior, mostly the cheese store and windows allowing to observe the production, are built with orange bricks. The staircase, once again, features these interesting window-like openings.

Spending two long weekends in the Grisons exploring its architecture was an astonishing experience.

And surely, it was still not long enough to discover all the architecture marvels out there! Now, read my previous guides on architecture in Gisons:

Dominik Gehl

Based in Lausanne, Dominik Gehl is a software engineer by day. His hobbies include traveling the world, reading and photography. Oh, and he loves coffee and tea. All images © Dominik Gehl.

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