The construction fence and the scaffolding have been removed, the view of the HSG Learning Center from Guisanstrasse is unobstructed: after a construction period of only two years, the impressive glass building designed by the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is nearing completion. The HSG Foundation has already been able to raise 60 of the 63 million francs required for its construction and operation. All the money has come from private donors.
What has also been decided is the name of the building, which reflects its spirit and purpose: SQUARE is a public space where people meet and interact, a place for inspiring encounters and a lively dialogue across social, disciplinary and cultural borders. Also, the name reflects the flexible floor plan: the base of the building is structured as a grid of squares which can be combined accord-ing to requirements. Finally, SQUARE is also a mathematical term, which here symbolises the aspira-tion that the building should work as a multiplier.
Focus on content
With interior construction still in full swing, all the stops have been pulled out for work on the pro-gramme for the pilot semester. “We’re striving to develop a varied programme under the manage-ment of a director, as well as a didactic/methodological supervision of activities at SQUARE,” says President Bernhard Ehrenzeller. This concept is globally unique in a university context. Until the inauguration in February, the job of drawing up a programme is being done on a temporary basis by Dr. Dominik Isler and Florian Wußmann as the President’s Delegates for the Directorship. After that, the management function will be passed on to the future director.
In Philippe Narval, the HSG has found the ideal candidate for this demanding task. The native Aus-trian read history and educational sciences at King’s College London and the University of Oxford. With experience in working for international NGOs, social institutions and independent cultural organisations, he was most recently Secretary General of the European Forum Alpbach, an interdis-ciplinary platform for science, politics, business and culture. This experience with interdisciplinarity was a hallmark of his earlier work and will remain so in St.Gallen. “I’m looking forward to working with young people and developing talents. Universities are being called upon to provide young lead-ers with an optimal education, and requirements are much higher than even 30 years ago. The world can’t afford poor leaders,” says Philippe Narval.
Save the date: 13 February 22
The official inauguration of SQUARE will take place on 13 February 2022 with a public celebration. Anyone who is interested is invited to get an impression on site and to celebrate together with members of the University community. Further information about this will follow on the HSG’s channels.