Architectural History and Globalized Knowledge

Michael Gnehm, Sonja Hildebrand, eds.
Architectural History and Globalized Knowledge
Gottfried Semper in London

2021. 19 x 25,5 cm, softcover
224 pages, 112 illustrations
ISBN 978-3-85676-409-8
CHF 35.00 / EUR 35.00
Published in collaboration with the Mendrisio Academy Press


Contributions by Elena Chestnova, Caroline van Eck, Murray Fraser, Sonja Hildebrand, Mari Hvattum, Claudio Leoni, Kate Nichols, Alina Payne, Philip Ursprung, Dieter Weidmann, Beat Wyss
Designed by Andrea Lancellotti und Stefano Milan


Gottfried Semper’s years in exile in London (1850–1855) were a time of highly inspirational experiences. The London of the first World Expo offered the German architect an immense trove of objects for study and an intellectual surrounding that provided seminal impulses for his innovative cultural-history-based theory of architecture. That revolutionary period found not only politics and society in radical upheaval, but also the world of art and science. Internationalization, and indeed globalization, of knowledge was thereby a particularly distinctive phenomenon, the most important place of which was the capital of the British Empire. The present volume, developed from a joint SNSF research project through the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture of the Università della Svizzera italiana and the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zurich, positions Semper jointly as an observer and actor during this time. It extends beyond a focus on Semper’s individual person to consider his work in designing, teaching and writing architecture based on his historical, architectural and disciplinary surroundings. The international authors are also interested in the continuation of Semper’s London concepts in his later works as well as his overall legacy in the history of ideas.

Forthcoming in spring 2021

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