Marie-Pierre Zufferey, Solidité et Elégance – 5 novembre 2012 – février 2013

   5 novembre 2012 – février 2013


Marie-Pierre Zufferey


Solidité et Elégance

The building blocks of sophisticated architectural art.   


With “Solidité et Elégance”, the title of our second exhibition in the “artademics” series, EPFL architect Marie-Pierre Zufferey hits the hammer right on the nail. Through her extensive knowledge of rough materials, pigments and paint she pairs the beauty of rock-solid natural matter with delicate architectural design in a style all her own.

It is a warm day at the end of the spring semester. The floor of the SG building buzzes like a beehive. Large rooms filled with scale-models (“maquettes”) in progress, paper, wood and board, wire, glue, paint, and jars of colorful pigments. Students gathered in every space, working hard to finish their exam pieces before the end of term. A slender woman with short dark hair seems to be everywhere at the same time. She moves quickly and with energy, has an answer to every question, steers her students in the right direction and corrects them where necessary. Marie-Pierre Zufferey teaches technical design to students of architecture and is a major source of education and expertise. From the sunlit court yard come the soft sounds of hammering tools and happy voices. A group of students learns how to work a piece of solid stone in order to discover its qualities, intricacies and possibilities.

How did Marie-Pierre become part of the Faculty of Architecture? “It all began after high school.  There was so much that I wanted to learn that in the beginning I did not really know where my curiosity would lead me. But in the process, while studying Latin, French, chemistry, philosophy, physics, and mathematics, it became clear that architecture would become my passion. It seems I have always wanted to create parts of the world, small entities that formed a realm on their own.  Sometimes it felt as if I created small compositions of peacefulness. They were like mini rafts that enabled me to float calmly in the turmoil of life, and they had a very spiritual feel to them.” No wonder that she also became intrigued by scale-models, those mini replicas of future larger creations, and that her PhD thesis focused on the architecture of court yards, where serenity always seems to be surrounded by quiet, protecting walls.

An eager student, Marie-Pierre moved through an extensive world of learning that enriched her life enormously. With the scale-models came construction, and on her journey through the land of intellectual inspiration and imagination architecture became more prominent all the time.


She started out working for various architectural and technical bureaus while gaining teaching experience in several schools in Lausanne and Saint-Maurice. One day she was asked to devote some time to working for EPFL. In the process she became an almost full-time faculty member. Along the way she met three interesting people who inspired her to spread the knowledge they generously shared with her: an architect-painter, a mason-sculptor and a historian-detective.

After hours she is not only an avid photographer who loves martial arts. Architectural painting also became another important pastime.


Marie-Pierre has a wonderful command of brush and medium. Creating the texture of on old city wall, the sheen of a wrought-iron fence or the curves of a beautiful façade comes naturally to her. Often her work is inspired by (local) scenes that she finds on urban explores. She applies earth tones to perfection and her use of light adds drama to the scenery. Sometimes the combination of stark luminosity and darkness has a surreal effect. Architecture always plays the leading role in her work. Solidity and elegance; Marie-Pierre creates a beautiful union of seemingly opposing entities, always radiating peacefulness and repose.

Enjoy the show!


Gusta van Dobbenburgh




“Solidité et Elégance”

Architectural paintings

Marie-Pierre Zufferey


Show: November 5, 2012 – February 2013

Monday through Friday 8h45 – 17h00

Location: ELA Gallery, Room 010

Reception: Thursday, November 8, 17h30 – 19h30


More info:

Or call 021 691 1188