The Tallest Tower in Europe Will be ... in a Quaint Swiss Village?

By Alissa Walker on at

A new tower designed by American architect Thom Mayne was announced today which, when complete, will be the tallest building in Europe. Is it in Moscow? London? Frankfurt? Nope. Mayne's shiny slab will stab the sky in the tiny hamlet of Vals, Switzerland.

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Mayne's firm Morphosis passed along details of the 80-floor, 1,250-foot (381m) tower, which was the result of a competition sponsored by a resort in the Swiss town. The 107-room hotel is planned to open in 2019, when it should be the continent's tallest; unless a planned tower in St. Petersburg assumes its full projected height.

The renderings show a plane of glass shimmering high into the alpine sky, where it appears to simply evaporate into the atmosphere.

In fact, that seems to be the theme: a vaporous facade which has no exterior form, merely reflecting its idyllic surroundings. But we know that will not be the case, of course, as no building is invisible enough to simply dissipate into nothingness.

(Nothingness, by the way, is all that's left of author Ray Bradbury's home, which was demolished by Mayne earlier this year to make way for his new house. Which will likely also stick out like a sore phallus.)

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Vals is no backwater when it comes to great design: its public baths designed by Peter Zumthor have become somewhat of a pilgrimage site for architecture devotees. But this sliver of silver that spikes above the adjacent majestic peaks has already raised all sorts of arguments about whether or not the tower is site-appropriate in a place renown for its natural beauty.

Then again, context is really not Mayne's strong point. As the following images demonstrate. [Dezeen via Archinect]

41 Cooper Square, New York City

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Photo by Beyond My Ken


Caltrans District 7 Headquarters, Los Angeles

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Photo by Magnus Manske


San Francisco Federal Building, San Francisco

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Photo by Eric in SF


University of Toronto Graduate House, Toronto

The Tallest Tower in Europe Will Be ... In a Quaint Swiss Village?

Photo by Philipp Hienstorfer