Memorial to Hans Künzi – “Father of the Zurich S-Bahn” by Carsten Höller.

The new entrance from Europaplatz is, at 34 metres, the widest entrance to Zürich Hauptbahnhof – and it is unique: the internationally renowned artist Carsten Höller has created a memorial to honour Hans Künzi in the ceiling of the entrance. 

Hans Künzi (1924–2004), formerly a city councillor in Zurich and a member of the National Council, is considered the “Father of the Zurich S-Bahn”. The memorial was created in close collaboration with the city of Zurich, the Canton of Zurich, the Hans-Künzi-S-Bahn foundation and SBB.

The work.

Rather than honouring the person and merits of Hans Künzi via the traditional medium of a portrait, the memorial offers an abstract response to his different fields of activity, namely mathematics, data processing and transport. 400 neon-lit circles with a 60cm diameter form an L-shape in the ceiling of the entrance. They move forwards at different speeds and in different directions, symbolising the flows of people at Zürich Hauptbahnhof.

The life of Hans Künzi.

From the late 1950s, Hans Künzi (1924–2004) was professor of econometrics and business process research at the University of Zurich, with an emphasis on operations research and electronic data processing – and from 1966 he was in the rare position of simultaneously also being a professor at ETH Zurich. From 1970 to 1991, Künzi was a city councillor in Zurich and from 1971 to 1987, he represented the canton of Zurich at the federal level as a member of the National Council. Both the Zurich S-Bahn system and the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (Zurich Transport Network, ZVV) came into being under his auspices. He is considered the father of this economically, culturally and politically significant S-Bahn.

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