20 Years Online
18. December 2018
It's been 20 years since Swiss-Architects launched as the first online country platform of World-Architects.com. A lot has happened since 1998. Today, under the umbrella of World-Architects.com, 21 national and regional platforms actively present the work of architects and related professionals and highlight important news from the world of architecture.
The beginning of today's online company was a book: the yearbook Schweizer Architekten 1994/95. It contains the idea that continues to shape our websites: selected architects have a platform on which to present themselves and their buildings. Founded in 1994 by Hans Demarmels, Valentina Herrmann and Andres Sigg, PSA Publishers (PSA=Profiles of Swiss Architects, now Profiles of Selected Architects) was the first independent publisher of architectural profiles of its kind. In book form each architect had one or two pages to make their presentations, but on the internet there is much more space for images, project details, tabs with various bits of information, and links around the Web. At a time when websites were not self-evident, a national platform for architecture firms was a novelty.
With "newyork-architects 01-02," PSA published its last bound collection of "Selected Architects."
But it did not stay that way for long. Just as Swiss-Architects.com gradually expanded to include profiles of selected landscape architects, photographers, engineers, lighting designers, model makers, and manufacturers, plus an agenda and job platform, PSA Publishers itself grew. Today, the 21 national and regional platforms operate more or less independently under World-Architects, a network of more than 30 international employees, authors, freelance curators, and marketing and IT professionals.
After Swiss-Architects.com was launched in 1998, NewYork-Architects.com followed in 2000 and then both Austria-Architects.com and California-Architects.com went online in 2001. World-Architects.com was launched in 2002, becoming the umbrella under which all European, Asian, American, and Australian platforms reside.
Our Newsletters in English, German, Spanish and other languages provide weekly news from the world of architecture.
The next important step was the addition of editorial content, which began in 2006. Although the presentation of the selected architects and other professionals has remained the core interest of PSA, people visiting the various platforms should also be informed about current events in the fields of architecture, landscape design, construction, and other related areas. Over the years a solid team of critics and journalists has developed in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Today's magazines are directed by Jenny Keller (Swiss-Architects.com), John Hill (World-Architects.com), Miriam Giordano (Spanish-Architects.com), and Katinka Corts (German-Architects.com). Each week, these newsletters reach more than 120,000 readers in German-, English-, and Spanish-speaking countries. Furthermore, Chika Muto and Ryogo Utatsu have been running the Japanese-language blog since 2015, and a new Italian-Architects.com newsletter is planned for 2019.
In 2017, all World-Architects.com platforms received a major redesign that improved the site's usability – for people visiting the websites and for architects presenting their work.
Since the takeover of the company by management in 2015, PSA – headed by Charles Ganz, Peter Petz, Falk Romano and Renato Turri – is increasingly breaking new ground. For example, World-Architects.com attends numerous trade fairs and architecture festivals while also presenting thematic tours and lectures at some of them, as well as such special concepts as matchmaking at BAU München. After Catalan-Architects.com launched in 2015, with the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya, a milestone was reached: Together with Fundació Mies van der Rohe and Creative Europe, World-Architects.com founded in 2016 the Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA), a biennial award for outstanding student projects that alternates with, and is an extension of, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award.
Starting in 2019, there will be a stronger focus on an expanded Chinese-Architects.com platform.
Last but not least, a look back into the future: starting in 2019, Spotlight China – a multi-year project in collaboration with JUNG – has expanded the active Chinese-Architects.com platform (est. 2006), taking into account the growing importance and quality of Chinese architecture. While Switzerland and Germany remain two of the most important markets for PSA Publishers, good architecture, fortunately, does not stop at their borders.
A version of this article originally appeared as "20 Jahre Online-Architekturvermittlung" on German-Architects. English version was edited by John Hill.
Be sure to visit our 20 Years Online page for an interactive timeline of the first 20 years of PSA Publishers online.