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Swiss pavilion offers respite for visitors to World Fair in Hannover

The Swiss pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany


What strikes visitors to the Swiss pavilion, known as the Swiss Sound Box, is the absence of the loud video shows and rumbling machines that adorn the other national pavilions.

The roofless, wooden building provides a quiet corner for relaxation and the opportunity for a more gentle contemplation of Expo 2000's official theme, "Humankind, Nature and Technology".

The Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor, has used untreated beams of larch and fir to build the Sound Box. The timber is stacked without the use of a single nail or drop of glue so that it can be recycled when the pavilion is taken down.

Where most have interpreted the technology part by placing a computer in every corner, Zumthor uses 250 space-age projectors to beam a collage of literary texts, quotations and proverbs onto the timber walls. The words evoke landscapes, emotions or legends that are typically Swiss.

But it is not only food for thought that you will find inside the Sound Box. Visitors can sample a number of Swiss gastronomic specialties, including Emmentaler cheese and Hirschsalsiz -- venison sausage from Misox.

There is also music, with wandering minstrels performing live for 12 hours a day on an array of traditional instruments.


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