Werner Oechslin & Arduino Cantàfora

Wernwr Oechslin
Werner Oechslin

Arduino Cantàfora

March 21, 2016

in connexion with the exhibition Aldo Rossi – La finestra del poeta

Aldo Rossi. Science et/ou Poésie.
Les exigences d’une sensualité élevée et le voyage au “mont analogue”.

Lecture by Werner Oechslin, professor emeritus ETHZ

followed by a discusion with Arduino Cantafora, professor emeritus EPFL

moderated by Luca Ortelli, director of the Institute of Architecture, EPFL
lecture in French

„Die Griechen, welche zu ihren Naturbetrachtungen aus den Regionen der Poesie herüberkamen, erhielten sich dabei noch dichterische Eigenschaften. […] Sinnliches wird aus Sinnlichem erklärt, dasselbe durch dasselbe.“
„Die Menschen sind überhaupt der Kunst mehr gewachsen, als der Wissenschaft.“
(Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre)

Werner Oechslin
Professor emeritus ETHZ

He studied art history, archeology, philosophy and mathematics in Zurich and Rome. From 1971 to 1974 he was assistant at the University of Zurich. Then, in 1975 and 1978 he taught at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. and in 1979 at the RISD in Providence. After a short period at the FU Berlin 1979/80, where in 1980 he qualified as a university lecturer (Habilitation), he went as professor for five years to Bonn and in 1985 to the Ecole d’Architecture at the University of Geneva. Afterwards Werner Oechslin received a professorship in art history and architecture at the ETH Zurich. In 1987 he taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design as a visiting professor. From 1987-2006 he was head of the Institute of the History and Theory of Architecture (gta). Werner Oechslin was member of the Board of Trustees at the CCA Montréal and of the consiglio scientifico during the foundation of the Scuola di Architettura in Mendrisio. Since 2003 he is in the management board of the Internationalen Bauakademie Berlin.

Werner Oechslin’s contributions on the history of art and architecture from the 15th to the 20th century have been widely published. He specializes in the theory of architecture, in Baroque, modern architecture and in 18th century as well as in specific problems of architectural drawing and typology and of ephemeral architecture. Some of his publications in the last years are „Stilhülse und Kern: Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos und der evolutionäre Weg zur modernen Architektur” (Zurich/Berne 1994), that 2002 has also been published in English at Cambridge University Press, „Moderne entwerfen. Architektur und Kulturgeschichte” (Cologne 1999) and together with Anja Buschow Oechslin the new edition of „Kunstdenkmäler des Kantons Schwyz, Einsiedeln – Vol. I und II” (Bern 2003).

Werner Oechslin furthermore organized various exhibitions, among others “Triumph of Baroque” (Turin/Washington 1999), “Palladio” (Vicenza 1999), “Griechische Klassik. Idee oder Wirklichkeit” (Berlin/Bonn 2002), “Gottfried Semper (Munich/Zurich 2003), “Vincenzo Scamozzi (Vicenza 2003) as well as “Barock-Baumeister und moderne Bauschule aus Vorarlberg” (Bregenz/Austria 2006). From 1981 to 1998 he was co-editor of the art journal „Daidalos” and from 1991 to 1997 also member of the editorial staff of the architectural journal „archithese”

He is the founder of the “Stiftung Bibliothek Werner Oechslin” in Einsiedeln, that organizes since 1999 the annual international Baroque summer course and publishes the bulletin „Scholion”.


Arduino Cantàfora
Professor emeritus EPFL

Graduated at the Politecnico di Milano, he became renowned for his paintings with Renaissance influence, inspired by Giorgio de Chirico. He became acquainted with Aldo Rossi, of whom he was a pupil.

In the 1990s, he designed scenery for operas: Perseus and Andromeda at La Scala (1991) and Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Aix-en-Provence (1993).

He has taught at Yale University, IUAV, Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, and the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).