Pedagogical Potential of Dolf Schnebli’s Photobook. Learning From a Slow Journey and Its Media


  • Lucia Pennati



photobook, architecture photos, architecture education, formative journey


This article aims to investigate the role of the photobook in architectural education and production through the case study of the publication One Year from Venice to India by the Land Route. 1956: Photosketches of a Slow Journey (2009). This engages with the formative travel overland from Venice to India (and back) undertaken in 1956 by the young Swiss architect Dolf Schnebli and his wife Clarissa Hall. The slow journey influenced the architect’s life, both in a general attitude as well as in his architectural practice. Among the different media used to collect memories from the journey – hand sketches, text, letters, photographs, objects – only black and white pictures shot by Dolf Schnebli’s Leica were included in the photobook. The architect referred to these images as photosketches, standing at the crossroads between a traditional hand-sketch and a photograph. In this essay the translation of the private memories collected in different sketchbooks into a published biographical photobook will be examined as a representation on the formative journey and as an educational tool itself.


Article received: April 12, 2022; Article accepted: June 21, 2022; Published online: September 15, 2022; Original scholarly paper

Author Biography

Lucia Pennati

Istituto di Storia e Teoria dell'Arte e dell'Architettura, Accademia di Architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana


Lucia Pennati is an architect who studied in Milan and Bern. After professional experience in the office founded by Dolf Schnebli, SAM Architekten in Zurich, she undertook a second-level master’s degree in architectural history and theory at the gta institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). Since 2020 she has been a doctoral student in architectural history at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) under the supervision of Professor Sonja Hildebrand. Lucia's research project focuses on Schnebli’s idea of school, declined in both construction and teaching. Currently she's a visiting PhD student at the ETH Zurich. She's published in architectural journals like Archithese, Stoà Journal, GAM: Grazer Architektur Magazin.


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How to Cite

Pennati, L. (2022). Pedagogical Potential of Dolf Schnebli’s Photobook. Learning From a Slow Journey and Its Media. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (28), 15–35.



Main Topic: Rare, Bound, Cheap, Inserted – The Evolution of Photobooks