Thoughts & Insights

Ahead of Time

The modular USM Haller furniture system is famous around the world.

Yet the name of architect and visionary Fritz Haller, who designed it, is only known to a few. The reason for this could be that his style of thinking and the concepts were far ahead of their time when they arised. It should therefore come as no surprise then that Haller’s free spirit was hugely appealing to OUBEY.


It was not only the radical consistency that has always ensured Haller’s constructions and concepts have stood out due to their modular systematics, but above all his clear and uncompromising focus on the needs of Planet Earth and its inhabitants that have served as the foundation of OUBEY’s close spiritual connection with Fritz Haller. The fact is that Haller has not only designed industrial and purpose-built constructions and the furniture system that bears his name and follows the same modular principle as his houses. Sometimes collaborating with his students, he also developed such futuristic concepts as “Integral Urban” and “Prototypical Space Colonies”. The indiscriminate habitation of Earth due to the ruthless, unsystematic appropriation of the planet by humans challenged him to take an all-encompassing view from which he developed fascinating visions for more intelligent lifestyles. The universe is always at the focus of his work – as regained space for nature on Earth and, beyond this, as an extraterrestrial living space for those people withdrawing entirely from Earth and removing their lives to space colonies.

Although not intended by Haller for actual realisation, these concepts are still a strong starting point for worthwhile discussion. Architecture integrates building and living – always, in good and bad senses. Architecture as an expression of free thinking that recognises the problems of the future and counters them with bold designs is a rare thing. And all the more precious for that. A symposium will now celebrate the life’s work of Fritz Haller, now 87. In homage, the spotlight will be thrown on the various aspects of his work at the ETH in Zurich on 15 and 16 March. More information here.