The head office of Helvetia Patria insurance is located on top of the Girtannersberg, a raised part above the town of St. Gallen, and in the vicinity of other large building complexes.
The extension by Herzog & de Meuron of the existing cruciform complex are designed to create a functional and contextual organism arranged around four differently laid-out courtyards. The buildings added on to the end of the existing cruciform arms each vary in size or stuctural systém in response to the respective topographic and urban context.
The first two of the planned extensions have finally been completed, many years after the competition of 1989. They are narrow, glazed structures oriented towards the city. The room-height windows, mounted with a slight twist of their vertical or horizontal axis, reflect the garden, the sky and the neighbouring buildings, giving the facade a dynamic, kaleidoscopic appearance. Inside the building, each workspace enjoys a different spatial environment due to the slanted glazing in every window. Helvetia Patria in St. Gallen represent the attempt to manipulate an efficient, modernist, “Mies-ian“ steel/glass structure in order both a more individual, more intimate atmosphere inside and a more complex architectura interaction outside.