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The exhibition focusTerra presents the mineralogical and geological collection of the Department of Earth Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. The content and design link the collection to contemporary research and mediate between the university and the general public.
The exhibition is housed in the brightly lit courtyard of a recently restored historic building. The exhibition takes the form of a three-storey tower, and this contemporary architectural sculpture forms a marked contrast to its historic environment, thus opening up a dialogue between old and new. The structure of the exhibition mirrors the layers of the Earth, starting at the centre and moving outwards to the surface. At ground level, Dynamics of the Earth examines the phenomena that occur at its core. On the first floor, the collection of minerals and precious stones illustrates the topic of Treasures of the Earth. Finally on the top floor, Archives of the Earth looks at the formation of sediments and fossils as well as the history of climate. Organically formed display cases thrust upwards like volcanoes, passing through the two levels whose floors are themselves set at an angle to each other, as if displaced by tectonic forces.