Non-Referential Architecture

Non-Referential Architecture

Ideated by Valerio Olgiati—Written by Markus Breitschmid

The new revised edition of Valerio Olgiati's and Markus Breitschmid's widely acclaimed manifesto for a new approach in architecture in a world free of ideologies and, therefore, references: a must-read for anyone interested in architecture today



Title Information

Valerio Olgiati, Markus Breitschmid

New revised edition

, 2019


144 pages, 1 b/w illustration

11.5 x 18 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-142-5


More than ever, architecture is in need of provocation, a new path beyond the traditional notion that buildings must serve as vessels, or symbols of something outside themselves.

Non-Referential Architecture is nothing less than a manifesto for a new architecture. It brings together two leading thinkers, architect Valerio Olgiati and theorist Markus Breitschmid, who have grappled with this problem since their first encounter in 2005. In a world that itself increasingly rejects ideologies of any kind, Olgiati and Breitschmid offer Non-Referential Architecture as a radical, new approach free from rigid ideologies. Non-referential buildings, they argue, are entities that are themselves meaningful outside a vocabulary of fixed symbols and images and their historical connotations.

For more than a decade, Olgiati and Breitschmid’s thinking has placed them at the forefront of architectural theory. Indispensable for understanding what the future might hold for architecture, Non-Referential Architecture will become a new classic.

The book's first edition, published in May 2018 by Simonett & Baer, was sold-out within months. This revised and slightly redesigned new edition makes this key text available again.


Deutsche Ausgabe

Edizione italiana

Authors & Editors

Markus Breitschmid

, born 1966, is a professor of architecture theory at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, VA. He has published widely on contemporary architecture and philosphical aesthetics and also works as visiting critic and lecturer at various universities, museums, and other institutions in America, Europe, and Asia.

Valerio Olgiati

, born 1958, is an architect based in in Flims, Switzerland, working on projects for public and private clients in various countries. He also teaches as a professor at the Accademia di architettura der Università della Svizzera intaliana in Mendrisio, Switzerland and has published numerous and internationally recognized books.


"A rare readable and intriguing contribution to architectural theory." Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times Summer Books 2019