Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture
About Us

The past and the present, theory and practice have been the cornerstones and frame of reference for the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) since it was founded in 1967. The task of the institute is to address architecture in all its historical depth and ideological breadth, and to systematically reflect upon it. In addition to positing and verifying facts, the gta Institute has always endeavoured to examine the efficacy and aptitude of the models it applies and to reap their benefits for contemporary architecture. At the institute, the topics of research and teaching are the historiography of architecture, the forms and techniques of construction, the functions of architecture and its relationship to society and politics, the development of design and architectonic discourse from earliest times to the present day, and methods of architectural-historical study, from building analysis through to the digital humanities.

The gta Institute plays a mediating role in the Department of Architecture (D-ARCH) inasmuch as it serves the increasingly specialised fields of architectural knowledge as a central hub. Thus it is broadly represented in the D-ARCH curriculum – from knowledge-oriented lectures at bachelor’s and master’s degree level, to specialised lectures or seminars, to integrated design courses. The institute’s doctoral programme assumes a pivotal position in honing the skills of the next generation of scholars at the interface of research and teaching. The continuing education programme of the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) provides a bridge between the practical and academic-research field.

The gta Institute fulfils further tasks closely interlinked with its academic commitments. The gta Archives holds nationally and internationally important modern architecture bequests, including numerous bequests from renowned architects and urban planners. The gta Verlag publishes books on the history and theory of architecture, urban and regional planning, landscape architecture and historical preservation. The gta Exhibitions works continually to build a strong public profile for the research undertaken in the D-ARCH. The gta Digital develops state-of-the-art research environments to pool scientific expertise and thus improve global access to highly specialised data. The four gta divisions showcase the department’s work to the public.

Since its foundation, directors of the gta have included Adolf Max Vogt, Bernhard Hoesli, Heinz Ronner, Werner Oechslin, Kurt W. Forster, Andreas Tönnesmann, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani and Laurent Stalder. Current director of the gta Institute since 1 July 2021 is Tom Avermaete.

Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung, Head of the Institute
Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete
Prof. Dr. Maarten Delbeke
Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder


Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung