1963: Inauguration of the new buildings on the Rosenberg – now with the abbreviation "HSG"

The school was renamed on 1 October 1962 from ‘Handels-Hochschule St.Gallen (HHS)' to ‘Hochschule St.Gallen für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften’, giving rise to the famliar abbreviation ‘HSG’. An early start was made in preparing for the inauguration of the new buildings, which was to be held in June 1963. The inauguration festivities were budgeted with CHF 200,000, a considerable amount not only by the standards of the time, and they lasted three days in all – a length of time that was necessary because of the many invited guests and the limited capacities of the available ceremonial halls.

The HSG campus shortly after its inauguration in 1963

On 27 June 1963 the 'Day of Academic Talks' took place, beginning with an academic ceremony in the main assembly hall. In a series of speeches, the HSG president and jury members, as well as representatives of the government, the city, and the Swiss Conference of Rectors of Higher Education and its European equivalent all paid tribute to the new buildings. There were numerous guests from other universities in Switzerland and abroad who also conveyed messages of congratulation. The afternoon was devoted to several academic colloquia, and in the evening there was a festive concert featuring Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the St. Gallen concert hall.

Ceremonial entry of representatives from Swiss and foreign universities into the new assembly hall on 27 June 1963

The ceremonial hand-over of the new keys took place in the city’s concert hall on 28 June 1963, HSG’s annual celebration day (now known as the Dies academicus). Vladimir Vogel had contributed a composition of his own to the musical framing of the event. The keys were handed over in the course of the address by Cantonal Councillor Dr Simon Frick, City Councillor Dr Emil Anderegg and President Walter Adolf Jöhr. Federal Councillor Dr Hans Peter Tschudi and Student Union President Urs B. Wyss were also among the speakers; and five honorary doctorates were conferred by President Jöhr. In the afternoon, a stately festive procession made its way through the city, including the representatives of other universities in their ceremonial regalia, the representatives of the canton and the city, and the architects and building workers, amongst others. For the evening, the students organised a torchlight procession. 

Saturday 29 June 1963, the third day of the inauguration festivities, was also the day when (in the city’s concert hall) President Jöhr handed over his presidency of HSG to the Vice-President, Otto Konstantin Kaufmann. After the midday banquet, the guests spent the afternoon hours viewing the HSG campus and its premises. In the evening, the traditional HSG ball, organised by the Student Union, took place at Schützengarten. HSG had certainly not forgotten the citizens of St.Gallen either: guided tours through the new premises were organised for them for the following Sunday.

The new university buildings belong to the architectural style of Brutalism, which was especially popular in the 1960s. Buildings designed in this style typically feature exposed concrete and a purely geometric structure. Further characteristic features of the university buildings are the facade elements, in painted iron, and the clear reference to the given surrounding landscape and urban envi-ronment. The thought behind the construction is made visible.

Stairs to the main building, 1964

The architects were concerned with giving the campus a character that would be dignified and deliberately classical but not overstated. From the outside, the buildings are supposed to appear uniform, dignified and orderly, so that they may also be recognised as such from a distance. According to his belief that architecture should claim the status of an art, the architect Walter M. Förderer and his colleagues were guided in their work by the idea of integrating the artistic and the arts into the architecture itself.

The individual buildings – the old ‘Institute Building’, the assembly hall, the technical wing, the cafeteria and the sports hall – are arranged almost as if on a chessboard, and they seem to grow out of the hillside. They meet at the central and at the same time highest point of the campus, the ‘Crown’ of the Main Building. This windowless concrete cube, which originally housed the HSG library, represents a place of intense concentration and learning.

The staircase of the Main Building, in 1967, as an expression of the architectonic language of forms

The staircase of the Main Building, up to six metres broad and widely protruding, leads up to what used to be the library and itself forms a central architectonic sculpture. To examine the overall stress resistance of the construction, tests were carried out using a purpose-built plexiglass model. Although Förderer, the architect, only came up with the idea for this staircase at a late stage, he never-theless pushed it through with great perseverance. According to the original design that won the competition, the staircase was supposed to have had a round, drum-like shape.