The Swiss National Bank in Zurich

The Pfister Building 1922–2022

The home of Switzerland’s monetary policy


Title Information

Edited by the Swiss National Bank

1st edition

, 2022


412 pages, 128 color and 179 b/w illustrations

20 x 28 cm

ISBN 978-3-03942-095-7


In 1922, a decade after the Swiss National Bank had opened its neo-baroque building in Berne, the bank’s Zurich-based governing board moved into its own grand office building. This major work of the local firm of Otto and Werner Pfister is a key example of neoclassicism in Switzerland and provided Zurich with an architectural landmark at the top end of its famous Bahnhofstrasse.

Marking the building’s centenary, this book celebrates the Zurich home of the Swiss Franc. It describes in detailed and lavish illustrations the architecture and building history from the planning stage until today. This is supplemented by essays on bank architecture since the Middle Ages, the urban formation of Zurich, and the city’s development into a financial center in the late nineteenth century. In his contribution, the renowned Canadian British architect Adam Caruso compares it—from today’s perspective—with other central bank buildings and places it in the context of the Pfister brothers’ other public commissions, many of which occupy prominent locations in Zurich’s cityscape.

Richly illustrated with historical and new photographs, original plans, and other documents, this book pays tribute to a piece of public architecture that combines monumentality with pragmatism and republican modesty.


Contributions by Adam Caruso, Dominique Baumann, Patrick Halbeisen, Daniel Kurz, Bruno Maurer, Anna Minta, Thomas Müller, Dennis Neu, Susanne Rock, Sabine Sträuli, and Ursula Suter. Photo essays by Leo Fabrizio and Maurice K. Grünig.


The Swiss National Bank, with its dual headquarters in Bern and Zurich, is in charge of Switzerland’s monetary policy and the guardian of the Swiss Franc.


Deutsche Ausgabe

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South Façade © Leo Fabrizio

First-Floor Corridor: View to the West © Leo Fabrizio

Office of the Chairman of the Governing Board © Leo Fabrizio

Thousand-Franc Notes in the Strongroom © Leo Fabrizio

Entrance to the Safe Deposit Boxes © Leo Fabrizio

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