gta Archives

  1. Sigfried Giedion und Fotograf Hugo Herdeg in der Höhle Tuc d’Audoubert, um 1952
  2. Gustav Gull, Umbau der Halle des ETH–Hauptgebäudes von Gottfried Semper, 1915

The Archives of the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture (gta Archives) concentrate on the collection of bequests by Swiss architects and architectural critics, authors and photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Founded in 1967, the gta Archives emerged from the so-called «Semper Museum», which was established by students of Gottfried Semper after his death in 1879. Today they comprise nearly 200 bequests, the Archive of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) as well as the Archive of the Bund Schweizer Architekten (BSA), miscellaneous collections of pictures, audiotapes and films and a library linked to the NEBIS network. Latest additions include documents of regional and national planning processes as well as landscape architecture. These collections are acquired and looked after in cooperation with Network City and Landscape NSL.

gta Archives are an important centre of excellence on both a national and an international level. One third of their readers are from abroad. The Archives continually and strongly support a wide range of different research projects concerning their holdings. They assist external and internal research, exhibitions and publications; support PhD candidates and their studies; act as consignor; and do their own research projects. In recent years, large project cooperations within the Insitute have become central for the gta Archives, in particular the seminal publications about Gottfried Semper, ETH‘s buildings and Haefeli Moser Steiger architects.

New acquisitions in recent years have focussed on the protagonists of Swiss architecture after 1945, among them the archives of Ernst Gisel and Fritz Haller, the bequests of Claude Schnaidt, Claude Paillard, Alfons Barth and Jacques Schader. Important acquisitions are coming up shortly and concern for instance the archives of Eduard Neuenschwander.

In recent years, the Archives' collecting activities have concentrated on Swiss landscape architecture and regional planning. The documents collected and looked after in cooperation with Netzwerk Stadt und Landschaft (Network City and Landscape, NSL) are held by NSL Archives, an independent department within gta Archives. NSL archival materials are subject to special service regulations!

Documentary estates and archival materials are processed in a database, primarily according to formal and factual criteria. This means the materials are listed individually or as bodies of documents so as to make them easily accessible and traceable in the Archives' database or detailed inventories.


The gta Archives are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m., but only by prior appointment by phone or in writing. The best way to contact us is by our online request. Visitors from abroad may be granted special conditions. It is also possible to make research enquiries in writing. In principle our archival materials are only sent out, on loan, for exhibitions. Requests for loans must reach the Archives at the latest six months prior to the beginning of the period of loan.

For a list of books, exhibition catalogues and omnibus volumes recently published by gta Archives on the research projects that dealt with its holdings, please click here. For other, mainly older books, magazine articles, and contributions to anthologies, please check directly the holdings you are interested in.

The use of items on landscape architecture and spatial planning held by NSL Archives (gta) is subject to special regulations and only possible by appointment. Please ask for one by using our online request and well ahead of your visit!

Throughout August and the first two weeks of January, the archives are completely closed for stocktaking, and holdings cannot be used at all. Researchers are therefore requested to plan their project schedules accordingly.


The gta Archives’ library is a conglomerate of individual documentary estates and an initial hand set (complimentary copies, gifts, items of exchange), which has long since far exceeded the size of library stocks deserving that name. The library is a reference library. Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Further information
Das Architektur Gedächtnis der Schweiz
Andreas Tönnesmann und Bruno Maurer, "collecting architecture today and tomorrow", in: ICAM print 03