The centerpiece of swissnex San Francisco's humanitarian civic space is an enormous carpet conceived by architect and refugee camp specialist Manuel Herz. It features intricate floor patterns featuring quotes from fundamental treaties in humanitarian action, such as the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Manuel Herz is an architect with his own practice in Basel, Switzerland, and Cologne, Germany, and a professor of architectural and urban design at the University of Basel. He studied at the RWTH Aachen and at the Architectural Association in London. After teaching at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London, at the Berlage Institute, Rotterdam, and at Harvard Graduate School of Design alongside Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, he was head of teaching and research at ETH Studio Basel and a visiting professor at ETH Zurich. Manuel does research and publishes on the relationship between architecture and nation building, and on refugee camps. He curated the Pavilion of the Western Sahara at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. His books include “From Camp to City—The Refugee Camps of the Western Sahara” (Lars Müller Publishers) and “African Modernism—Architecture of Independence” (Park Books Publishers).