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Pyramid project takes shape

A giant pyramid is just about the last thing you would expect to see in the countryside near Lake Neuchatel. But that is what a Geneva foundation wants to build there as a monument to Switzerland's past and as a way of looking to its future.

This content was published on February 21, 2000 - 16:51

A giant pyramid is just about the last thing you would expect to see in the countryside near Lake Neuchatel. But that is what a Geneva foundation wants to build there as a monument to Switzerland's past and as a way of looking to its future.

Rising to a height of 48 metres, the Swiss pyramid is an ambitious project for what is described as both a museum and a think tank, which includes exhibition halls and an auditorium.

But why a pyramid? Geneva architect René Koechlin, who conceived the project, says "When Walt Disney was asked why he made a scale model of the Matterhorn at Disneyland in California he said it was because it was the most beautiful pyramid in the world. So you see there is an association between the mountains of the Alps and the pyramids."

Koechlin adds that each face of the pyramid would reflect one of Switzerland's four cultural and linguistic groups. "The north side is German, the west is French, the east Romansch and the southern face is Italian. The pyramid is a symbol of unity in diversity."

For the physically fit, a visit might include a climb up the steps of its exterior. Inside, a series of "modules" and audio-visual presentations will examine various themes on the subject of Switzerland, its past, present and future, and its place within Europe.

If planning permission is granted the pyramid will be built in Canton Fribourg next to the motorway between Payerne and Estavayer-le-Lac. That site would not be far from locations of the Swiss national exhibition in 2002. Profits from ticket revenue would be donated to the Red Cross movement.

By Richard Dawson

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