Main Building of the ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

The main building of the ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich stands on a hill overlooking Zurich’s Old Town.

  • Architect: Gottfried Semper
    Location: central Zurich
    Special feature: Polyterrasse with a magnificent view over the Old Town
  • Special feature: the later dome by Gustav Gull is today the distinguishing feature of the ETH.
    Year completed: 1864

If you walk from Zurich Main Station towards Central and the River Limmat, you may just be able to make out the main building of the ETH Zurich on the hillside. To the left of the green dome of Zurich University, sharp eyes will be able to spot a large, darker dome, which today is the distinguishing feature of the ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

The original building was constructed in 1864 by Gottfried Semper, who was also responsible for the Semperoper in Dresden, which bears his name. In those days, the ETH was referred to as the “Polytechnikum” (Polytechnic School) and at the time it was a truly monumental building for both Zurich and Switzerland. After it was extended by Gustav Gull between 1914 and 1925, the only part of the original Semper building still remaining was the façade overlooking the city. Gustav Gull – who had already built the National Museum next to Zurich Main Station – made extensive changes, both inside and out. The above-mentioned dome, for example, was added by him.

It is well worth visiting the ETH, the interior of which is particularly beautiful. Popular photo motives include the focusTerra tower and the inner courtyard. All around the building, there are also pretty niches abounding in greenery, while to the south, the Polyterrasse offers a magnificent view over the rooftops of the Old Town.

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Opening Hours

Monday – Friday, 6am – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday, 8am – 5pm