OLE W Dr. FISCHER, Dipl. Arch. ETH portrait
  • Associate Chair, School Of Architecture
  • Associate Professor, School Of Architecture

Research Summary

Dr. Fischer works on the history, theory and criticism of architecture, art and design of the 19th, 20th and 21st century, with a focus on the questions of (continued) modernisation processes and its cultural expressions.


  • Vordiplom (Bachelor) in Architecture, Department of Architecture, Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany
  • Dipl. Arch. ETH, Diploma in Architecture (Professional Degree), Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zurich (ETH), Switzerland. Project: Siehlcity Zurich – urban and landscape design thesis project
  • Dr. sc. ETH, in History and Theory of Architecture, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zurich (ETH). Project: "Nietzsches Schatten – Theorie und Werk Henry van de Veldes im Spiegel der Philosophie Friedrich Nietzsches. Eine vergleichende Studie zur Rezeptionsgeschichte in der frühen Moderne" (Nietzsche's Shadow – Theory and Work of Henry van de Velde in the Mirror of the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. A Comparative Study on Reception History of Early Modernism"


Dr. Ole W. Fischer studied architecture at the Bauhaus University Weimar and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich from 1995 to 2001. Between 2002 and 2008 he taught at the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture (gta) of ETH Zurich, where he also obtained his PhD. In his doctoral thesis he analyzed the programmatic transcription of the philosophy of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche into theory and work of the Flemish architect, designer and artist Henry van de Velde. Parallel, as a licensed architect and urban designer in Zurich, he worked in interdisciplinary project teams, where his architectural and urban design projects won several design competitions, prizes and honorable mentions. In summer 2004 and 2005 he was a research fellow of Klassik Stiftung Weimar, in spring 2005 a visiting PhD fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), and in 2008–09 fellow in residence of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. In spring 2009 he returned as postdoc research fellow to Harvard GSD to work on a history of critical theory in architecture. In fall 2009 he was visiting adjunct professor for history and theory of architecture at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, in spring 2010 visiting assistant professor at the History Theory Criticism program of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Architecture and Planning and co-curator & co-general commissioner of the German pavilion themed "Sehnsucht" at the Biennale di Venezia 2010. In summer 2010 he was appointed as assistant professor for history, theory & criticism of architecture at the University of Utah School of Architecture, Salt Lake City, where he continues to serve as associate professor since summer 2017. In summer 2015 he was appointed as visiting professor for architectural theory at the department of architecture at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), and in summer 2019 as visiting professor for architectural theory at the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). In spring 2018 he spent his sabbatical as visiting researcher at Professur Architeturtheorie, Institut für Architetur, TU Berlin and at Professur Architekturgeschichte, Kunsthistorisches Institut, FU Berlin, and as Nietzsche fellow in residence at the Kolleg Friedrich Nietzsche in Weimar. In addition, he has been serving as design critic at ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, Harvard GSD, Yale, MIT, RISD, Columbia, Cooper Union, Princeton, TU Berlin, TU Wien, TU Graz, Akademie der bildenden Künste Vienna, UMPRUM Academy of Art, Architecture and Design Prague, etc.

He lectured and published internationally on contemporary questions of the theory, history and criticism of architecture and art, amongst others in Archithese, Werk, Journal of Society of Architectural Historians JSAH, MIT Thresholds, Archplus, An Architektur, Graz Architecture Magazine GAM, Umeni/Art, Beyond, log, Framework, West 86th etc. He contributed to a series of books, such as The Humanities in Architectural Design (London: Routledge, 2010), the The Handbook of Architectural Theory (London: Sage, 2012), and The Other Architect (Montréal: CCA/Spector, 2015), and This Thing called Theory (London: Routledge, 2016). He is co-editor of Precisions – Architecture between Sciences and the Arts (Berlin: Jovis, 2008), of Sehnsucht – a book of architectural longings (Vienna: Springer 2010), as well as since 2012 co-editor of the peer-reviewed international critical journal Dialectic with support of the Graham Foundation, Chicago, Il. His is author of Nietzsches Schatten [Nietzsche's Shadow] (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 2012).