Back to overview Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Gradhiva. Revue d'anthropologie et d'histoire des arts
Page(s) 106 - 123
Title of proceedings Gradhiva. Revue d'anthropologie et d'histoire des arts


The expressions «architectural metabolism» and the «principle of dressing» are fundamental in Semper’s reflections. However, the renewed interest in his theories — which is partly due to the fact that they are no longer seen to limit themselves to the architectural field but also to include a global perspective on industrial arts — seldom takes into account the implicit behind these interconnected terms. Semper uses these concepts to account for a so-called historical progress in architecture. Precisely because of its global scope, such a typically historicist approach implies a hierarchized vision of cultures and its correlate, that is the justification of the superiority of European peoples. This essay further discusses the inevitable interdependence between Semper's theories and his projects in both architecture and the industrial arts.