FAKE CHALETS FROM
WW11 IN SWITZERLAND
Traditional wood green shutters, lace curtains, Swiss chalet beams; all the makings of a quaint little villa in the woods. But strangely, the windowpanes don’t reflect the sunlight and on closer approach, the house looks impossibly narrow. Because this is no quaint Swiss chalet but rather a military bunker in disguise.
Architectural fakery is one of my favourite things, so finding the work of photographer Christian Schwager and his project on “Fake Chalets” was bound to happen sooner or later. Until 2004, camouflaged bunkers were a well-kept military secret in Switzerland and many Swiss residents had no idea that there were weapons compounds sitting in the middle of the villages where they grew up until Schwager’s book of photographs went public.
Christian estimates there are at least 250 bunkers hiding behind well-disguised facades that have gone unnoticed for years, sometimes sitting right on the main streets of town. He has visited photographed over a hundred of them, mainly from World War II when aerial reconnaissance and espionage was rife and the government began dressing up their not-so-subtle concrete bunkers.
It was also handy in maintaining that picture-perfect image of Swiss landscapes for tourism. Theatre set designers and artists were hired to give the bunkers their make-overs to help them fit in with the local surrounding chalets. They were required to ensure the concrete “chalets” could deceive the human eye at a minimum distance of 20 meters with realistic shutters, precise imitations of wood grain and even the sun’s reflection.
Now, check out some of these chalets.
Clancy's comment: Pretty smart, eh?