Sigfried Giedion

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Sigfried Giedion (1888 Prague - 1968 Zurich) was an architectural historian. Giedion was born to Johann and Bertha Jacobs Giedion. He received his Ph.D. in art history under Heinrich Wölfflin in Munich. Giedion was appointed professor at the university in Zurich. He left Switzerland shortly before World War II to be the Charles Eliot Norton professor of poetry in 1938 at Harvard University. His Norton lectures for 1938-1939 became his most famous book, Space, Time and Architecture: the Growth of a New Tradition. He married fellow Wölfflin student Carola Welcker, who under her married name Giedion-Welcker, also published on modern architecture. Giedion was appointed professor in Harvard University's new Graduate School of Design in 1938, founded by Walter Gropius. He returned to Europe to head of the Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich in 1947. The following year his Mechanization Takes Command appeared. In 1951 he returned to the United States to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lecturing at Harvard. After Gropius' retirement in 1952, his biography of Gropius appeared in 1954. Giedion returned to Harvard as a visiting professor from 1954-1956, lobbying with another part-time Harvard lecturer, Eduard Sekler, for a return architectural history courses to Harvard's architectural program, which Gropius had eliminated. In 1957 he delivered the A. W. Mellon lectures at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, published in 1964 as The Eternal Present. (Source)


  • Spätbarocker und romantischer Klassizismus, Munich: F. Brückmann, 1922. (German)
  • Bauen in Frankreich, Bauen in Eisen, Bauen in Eisenbeton, Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1928, 127 pp. [1] (German)
    • Building in France, Building in Iron, Building in Ferroconcrete, trans. J. Duncan Berry, Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 1995. Excerpt. (English)
  • Space, Time & Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition, Harvard University Press, 1941, 16+601 pp; 3th ed., enl., 1954, 778 pp; 5th ed., 2003. Based on his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1938-39. (English)
    • Spazio, tempo ed architettura: lo sviluppo di una nuova tradizione, Milan: U. Hoepli, 1954, xxiv+755 pp. (Italian)
    • Espacio, tiempo y arquitectura: el futuro de una nueva tradición, trans. Isidro Puig Boada, Barcelona: Científico-Médica, 1958, 808 pp. (Spanish)
    • Raum, Zeit, Architektur: die Entstehung einer neuen Tradition, Ravensburg: Maier, 1964, 536 pp; 2nd ed., exp., Birkhäuser, 2015, 560 pp. (German)
    • Espace, temps, architecture. La naissance d'une nouvelle tradition, trans. Irmeline Lebeer and Franc̨oise-Marie Rosset, Brussels: La Connaissance, 1968, 552 pp. (French)
  • with Jose Luis Sert and Fernand Leger, "Neun Punkte über Monumentalität - ein menschliches Bedürfnis" [1943], in Giedion, Architektur und Gemeinschaft, Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1956, pp 40-42. All three authors lived in New York at the time of writing the statement; intended for publication in a volume planned by the American Abstract Artists which never appeared. (German)
    • "Nine Points on Monumentality", in Giedion, Architecture, You and Me, Harvard University Press, 1958, pp 48-52; repr. in Architecture Culture 1943-1968: A Documentary Anthology, ed. Joan Ockman, Rizzoli, 1993, pp 27-30. (English)
  • Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History, Oxford University Press, 1948, xiv+743 pp; University of Minnesota Press, 2013. [2] (English)
    • L èra della meccanizzazione, trans. Maria Labò, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1967, 674 pp. (Italian)
    • La mecanización toma el mando, trans. Esteve Riambau i Suarí, Barcelona: Gili, 1978, 731 pp. (Spanish)
    • La mécanisation au pouvoir: contribution à l'histoire anonyme, trans. Paule Guivarch, Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1980, 592 pp. (French)
    • Die Herrschaft der Mechanisierung: ein Beitrag zur anonymen Geschichte, afterw. Stanislaus von Moos, Frankfurt am Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1982, 843 pp. (German)
  • editor, A Decade of New Architecture, Zurich: Girsberger, 1951; 2nd ed. as A Decade of Contemporary Architecture, 1954, 271 pp. TOC. (English)/(French)
  • Walter Gropius, Work and Teamwork, New York: Reinhold, 1954, 250 pp; repr. as Gropius, Dover, 1992. A biography of Gropius. [3] (English)
    • Walter Gropius, Mensch und Werk, Stuttgart: G. Hatje, 1954, 248 pp. (German)
    • Walter Gropius: l'homme et l'oeuvre, trans. Dorette Boxberger, Paris: A. Morancé, 1954, iv+248 pp. (French)
    • Walter Gropius: L'uomo e l'opera, trans. Giulia Veronesi, Milan: Ed. di comunità, 1954, iv+248 pp. (Italian)
  • Architektur und Gemeinschaft. Tagebuch einer Entwicklung, Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1956, 146 pp. (German)
  • The Eternal Present, Volume I: The Beginnings of Art, New York: Pantheon, 1964, 588 pp; repr., Princeton University Press, 2023, 610 pp. Based on his A. W. Mellon lectures delivered at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 1957. Review: Burchard. [4] (English)