The Federation of Swiss Architects (FSA) was founded on 27th June, 1908 by 25 young architects in Olten, registration into the register of companies took place in 1909. The present headquarters is in Basel, where the head office of the central association is based. “the evolution of the FSA constitutes a peculiar case”, Hermann Baur, central chairman from 1938 until 1944 wrote, for while in most European countries the entire architectural society is represented just by a single architectural association, in Switzerland there exist numerous such organisations differing in size and alignment.
It appeared to the founders of the FSA, as Baur explains, “that the very specific nature of the matters of concern in architecture (which are not only technical but in essence artistic)” would not in a larger umbrella association with inclusion of engineers be justified. The key interest of the FSA has from the beginning onwards lain in the guidelines and principals of architectural competitions, moreover in its organisation, supervision and in its independent evaluation, contributing significantly to building culture. The FSA has repeatedly stood up for the freedom of architectural practice, for the education of architects and title protection (Establishing the Swiss Register of Architects today REG). Out of periods of hard times for the FSA the idea for a regional and federal-state planning evolved (Founding 1943 the Swiss Union of Federal States).
The FSA acted as initiator and founding member of establishments like the Swiss Baukatalog, the Swiss Baumuster-Centrale, The Swiss Center for Rationalisation in Construction. The FSA was substantially involved in the large scale Swiss architectural exhibition which after the second world war was exhibited in several major European cities.
In the 1980s and 1990s questions surfaced concerning the consequences of an accelerated change in economic, technical and cultural structures in urban development and architecture. The FSA acts today as a union with partner organisations and umbrella associations, in particular through the engagement of its individual members in juries and expert panels and in numerous activities of its eight own local group branches. The official communication organ of the FSA is the publication “werk, bauen + wohnen”, founded in 1914 in parallel with the Swiss Werkbund (SWB) (swiss artists’ organization).
In 1909-1913 the official communication organ of the FSA was the journal “Die Schweizerische Baukunst” and in 1977-1979 the journal “ werk – Archithese: Zeitschrift und Schriftenreihe für Architektur und Kunst”. On the Centenary of the founding of the FSA a touring exhibition “Here we are – 100 years FSA Switzerland 1908-2008” was conceived, in which models of architectural competitions from the whole of Switzerland were shown. (cf.: Sondernummer 9/2008 von werk, bauen + wohnen).