Rolf Gutmann was born in Zurich on 3 March 1926. He was already a conscious
admirer of modern architecture at the early age of seventeen. Gutmann entered
the offices of
Ernst F. Burckhardt and Karl Egender, where he learned to draw and construct, without previous education in architectural design. Afterwards, during the second half of the 1940s, he followed Sigfried Giedion’s course at the ETH-Zürich.
Gutmann was a collaborator in the office of Otto H. Senn in Basel (1949-56), who enabled him to become a CIAM member. Together with Theo Manz he wrote La Charte de l’Habitat. Überlegungen über das Wesen des Themas (1952).
Rolf Gutmann was part of the CIAM X Committee that was to prepare the tenth CIAM congress, together with Jaap Bakema, Georges Candilis and Peter Smithson (1954). This group would fomr the nucleus of the later Team 10. However, after the tenth congress contacts between Gutmann and Team 10 were quickly lost.
Gutmann started an office with Felix Schwarz, who offered him partnership during the CIAM delegates meeting in La Sarraz, 1955. He became an assistant of Alfred Roth at the ETH-Zürich (1957-61) and a guest-professor at the same institute (1970-71). Gutmann and Schwarz realized many residential estates in the region of Zurich, as well as industrial buildings, offices and schools. Their urban design for Hamburg-Bergstädt of 1962 is a typical example of a manifest of the younger CIAM generation, pleading for possible adaptation, open structure and manifold relationships, instead of functionalist segregation.
Gutmann was an honorary member of BDA, German Association of Architects (1996). He died on 27 October 2002.