Gottfried Semper in Zurich

2023-03-15 / 7"x10" / black and white / color / paperback

An Intersection of Theory and Practice

About the Book

In the past Gottfried Semper (1803-1873) has been framed as a significant theoretician but not an important architect. Few scholars have until now examined the resonances between his writings and his built works. This scholarly text explores the consequences of thinking architectural production as the intersection of theory and practice in six of Semper’s little known works that he created during his tenure in Zurich, Switzerland, between 1854 and 1871. This book has three objectives: the first is to retrace the tentative seams that link Semper’s built and written works, and in this process challenge the still pervasive assumption that the architect’s buildings have little to do with his important theoretical and historical texts. The second objective is to construct a detailed analysis of Semper’s lesser known works, with the intent to map a constellation of his theoretical and practical tactics. The third objective is to show how these means of production may inform a different practice of writing and building that considers the expanded, interdisciplinary role architecture can play in the twenty-first century. From this perspective Semper’s hybrid work—advanced via the roles of influential writer, teacher, and designer—holds the potential to undermine the entrenched lines of division between disciplines at the same time that it promotes new linkages between design and building for contemporary practice.

How do I buy the Book?

Gottfried Semper in Zurich is now available worldwide, initially in paperback and hardcover versions. A digital Kindle version will be available soon.

Click on one of the country names below to be taken to that country’s Amazon bookstore, and then order directly from them.


United States  |  United Kingdom  |  Germany  |  France  |  Spain  |  Italy  |  

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Sweden  |  Japan  |  Canada  |  Australia


United States  |  United Kingdom  |  Germany  |  France  |  Spain  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Sweden


Available soon.

Praise for the Book

…a must for anyone with a serious interest in Semper. […] Compelling argument[s] well-researched and often wittingly presented. […] An excellent and refreshing look at Gottfried Semper’s theoretical and practical work. The focus on lesser-known projects places the architect in a new context, beyond the quagmire of nineteenth-century historicism. It is now possible to find as much validity in his designs as in his writings. Muecke’s thorough research and clear writing are welcome additions to the scholarship on Semper. […]  The author does not see the past as something that has been left behind, but as something that informs the present. Semper would have approved of his position.

Rett Lorance, Fordham University, New York

Product Details

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Obvious Press (15 Mar. 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 348 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683150527
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 17.78 x 2.01 x 25.4 cm