Some see them simply as mountains of concrete, while for others they are green housing oases. Among the population in general the relationship and attitude to large housing developments is deeply divided. In this country their relatively moderate dimensions, a sensible occupancy policy and careful maintenance have prevented the Swiss examples from developing into social flashpoints. Nevertheless, here, too, they were once the subject of massive criticism. Today they have become part of a number of personal biographies of living and can be assessed in a more differentiated way. In addition to which the icons of the economic boom are now entering a renovation cycle. What constitutes the value of the “big beauties”? We look for answers in Amsterdam, New Belgrade and Switzerland.