A private playground for a wealthy Zurich business man.

When I first arrived in Zurich years back, I discovered this villa while living in Seefeld area. At the time the building was run down and many of the beautiful decorations were begining to fall appart. The Gazebo and wooden structure that connected the two buildings were also in a very sorry state. But what facinated me the most about this building was the mix of styles. Half french villa and half Asian, the mix stands out compared to any of the other buildings or villas in Zurich, or even in Switzerland.

The Villa
The exterior of the villa was designed by Chiodera & Chudy and inspired by Renaissance architecture. The entire facade is richly decorated especially on the front side of the building. This is richly structured by means of polychrome paintings, which were executed in germ colors. The trompe-l'œil decorations make it appear that the facade is marble-clad. Windows, doors and niches are crowned by segment arches and framed by Veronese and Carrara marble. The facade at the top of the Piano Nobile is divided by two statues, Mercury and Flora, which are niches in niches. Mercury must be seen in the commercial activities of Grob, and Flora stands for the resulting wealth. Below the roof is also the PATUMBAH inscription. Above the Piano Nobile stands the richly adorned mezzanine floor, which is in turn divided by trompe-l'œil paintings and framed occuli.

The interior
The interior architecture is eclectic as a result of mixing European and East Asian styles. Great effort was taking in carving and creating a spectacular mix of handcrafted patterns and paintings throughout the building. The building is so rich in decorations that at first it almost overwhelms the viewer when entering. The details on the outside of the building are even richer on the inside.

The garden
The garden is open the the general public without admission fees. It's now part of a larger garden network that extends to the street below. On warm spring and summer days many come to relax in the garden. Villa Patumbah is walking distance from the Zurich Botanical Garden and lake Zurich.

The Zurich Heimatschutz museum
The Museum has nothing to do with the villa itself. The villa only serves as a backdrop for the museums different expositions throughout the year.


Short history

In 1883, Karl Fürchtegott Grob acquired 13,000 m² of land in Riesbach, where he built a villa over a two year span. This exceptionally wealthy builder had acquired his wealth with a tobacco plantation on Sumatra. The name of the Villa comes as a result of this connection to East Asia.

Riesbach, at that time still a suburb of Zurich, was a favorite place for building new Villas and homes. Of all these villas, villa Patumbah, surpasses its neighbors by far in terms of splendor and prestige. Many of the owners of these new Villas were trying to escape the smoke and noise of the new railroad. Zurich was growing fast with the industrial age and it wouldn't be long before this suburb would be part of Zurich.

The building is now occupied by the Heimatschutzzentrum of Zurich. The building has been carefully restored.


Heimatschutz Museum
Wed, Fri, Sat: 2pm - 5pm
Thurs + Sun: 12am - 5pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Villa garden
No admission and open to the general public

No parking at the castle

Villa Patumbah
Zollikerstrasse 128
8008 Zürich

Heimatschutz website


Villa Gallery

Villa Interior