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Feldbach, Switzerland

Synergy Village

A communal oasis on Lake Zurich. 

Exactly 100 steps from Lake Zurich, this former family farm now hosts voyageurs, volunteers and events. The property today known as Synergy Village began life six centuries ago, and has been in the Bühler family ever since. Over that span it’s gone from grange to commune to what it calls itself today—“a place of inspiration.” Its clever mix of free spirits, itinerants and suits settling into Zurich keep things continually fresh.

As if its expansive perch among the alps and Lake Zurich weren’t draw enough, Synergy Village adds to the mix some manmade flair: an atelier and accompanying gallery, barn-based flea market with finds and familial heirlooms, a grotto, and more than a few huts and cutouts for creative seclusion. 

At the turn of 2000, none of this was to be. What had been a thriving intentional community, populated by the Bühlers and their friends, began to disband. Devi and Ezra Bühler, the youngest generation, saw this decline firsthand. The brother-sister duo—engineers by trade, creatives by choice—overtook the reigns in 2014, modernizing and reimagining the family legacy.

Today the grounds provide temporary base to international adventurers. On the outskirts of Switzerland’s Gold Coast, the compound sits serenely on the countryside, in harmony with cattle, curious wildlife and quintessentially Swiss vistas. (Yet it’s not secluded: a 10-minute jaunt to the train station will have you in the heart of Zurich in a half an hour.)

Synergy is a living breathing entity changed in some way by each traveler. Collaboration is the byword and signs of visitors past abound: hand-painted maps, quirky canvasses, recipes, books, tips and other tidbits, all of which live on in the village’s lore and on its walls.

A multistructure complex, claiming five distinct addresses, Synergy has come a long way since its 2014 reimaginings. But with no shortage of acreage to play with, projects—renovations, entirely new things—remain in motion. With the help of volunteers sourced via work-exchange programs, professionals and design students eager to prove themselves, Devi and Ezra have high hopes for a sustainable, gridless, cosmopolitan future.

Here’s to the next 600 years.

Know Before You Go

Take the S7 railway to Feldbach