This digital publication – set in Lector FSL as well as Gerstner-Programm FSL – presents a critical edition of Gottfried Semper’s “Style in the technical and tectonic arts, or practical aesthetics.” This magnum opus of the German architect and theorist, published in two volumes in 1860 and 1863, is being made available together with its various versions for the first time on this site. Here the readers can access manuscript drafts and variants, fair copies, proofs, print versions, illustration sketches and lithograph proofs.
This edition contains materials which, on the one hand, belong to the immediate development of the “Style” and, on the other, describe its context. The manuscripts “Theory of art forms” and “Comparative architecture” contain materials which have never been published but which provide valuable context for the printed content of the “Style.” The latter, along with notes from Semper’s lectures at the Federal Polytechnic in Zurich, give insight into the possible subject matter of the projected third volume of the “Style.”
The format of the digital open-access edition provides an ideal framework for the material presented here, exceptional in its complexity and extent. Semper was in the habit of re-working his manuscripts thoroughly and enriching them with a wealth of references to places, artefacts, people, and publications. This digital edition, built on the basis of a graph database in which text is preserved as data, will allow in the future to display these links in an interoperable context and provide users with an effective toolbox for studying and comparing documents, and for exploring their historical context. This solution represents a cutting-edge approach in the field of digital scholarly editing as no edition before has attempted to work with graph database technologies on this scale.
ETH Zürich, Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur, Semper-Edition