• Giedion and America: Repositioning the History of Modern Architecture
    Reto Geiser
    gta Verlag, 2018
    Reto Geiser

Sigfried Giedion laying out the Italian edition of Space, Time, and Architecture at the Milanese offices of Ulrico Hoepli, 1961. Photo: A. Ornano. Courtesy of Sigfried Giedion Papers, gta Archives, ETH Zurich.

This book reassesses the work of Swiss art historian Sigfried Giedion (1888–1968) through the lens of cultural transformation and modernization processes. His role as mediator between architectural cultures on either side of the Atlantic was paradigmatic for the intellectual production and development of the modern project in both Europe and North America. This study of mutual exchange between Giedion and his North American counterparts offers insight into the ways that emigration and exile facilitate the transfer of ideas; it re-evaluates Giedion's oeuvre with particular attention placed on the effect of his extended stays in the United States and the less-understood interdisciplinary facets of his career. The book sheds new light on Giedion's life, and argues that his position in between two cultural spheres not only caused ruptures and contradictions in his work, but that it productively informed it and shaped its reception on either side of the Atlantic.

Reto Geiser is a scholar of modern architecture, with a focus on the intersections between architecture, pedagogy, and media. He is currently the Gus Wortham Assistant Professor at the Rice University School of Architecture. Geiser studied architecture at Columbia University and the ETH-Zurich (PhD), where his doctoral thesis was awarded the ETH medal of distinction. He is coauthor of Reading Revolutionaries (2014) and editor of award-winning House is a House is a House is a House is a House: Architectures and Collaborations of Johnston Marklee (2016) and Explorations in Architecture (2008). A founding principal of the collaborative design practice MG&Co., Geiser is developing spatial strategies in a range of scales, from the book, to the house. His current projects include environmental graphics for the Menil Collection in Houston and the Graduate Art Studios at UCLA, and the installation Rooms for Books at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2017).