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ACTAR buys Birkhäuser

Dezeenwire: Spanish architecture and design book publisher ACTAR has bought Swiss publisher Birkhäuser. More details from Actar below:


ACTAR acquires Birkhäuser’s architecture and design publishing from Springer and becomes the number one publisher of architecture books in the world

Basel / Barcelona, 18 December 2009

ACTAR Publishing has signed an agreement with Springer Science+Business Media (Springer) to acquire the architecture and design activities of Birkhäuser Verlag in Basel. Barcelona and New York-based ACTAR is a leading publisher of books on architecture, graphic design, and contemporary art. ACTAR will continue the Birkhäuser publishing program as an imprint in its current base in Basel, Switzerland.

Birkhäuser’s Natural Sciences publishing program, which includes mathematics, history of science, biosciences, civil engineering and geosciences, will remain with Springer.

“The acquisition of Birkhäuser marks the dawn of a new era for ACTAR.  Birkhäuser is a global reference for architecture and design publishing and we are extremely proud to be able to acquire and maintain such a living piece of history.  The focus and target groups of the ACTAR and Birkhäuser publishing programs perfectly complement each other and there will be many synergies that will benefit both organizations.  Furthermore, this acquisition positions our group as the number one publisher of architecture books in the world, both by sales volume and number of titles.  It is a key step in our plan to develop an even stronger content production platform to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the changes affecting the publishing industry”, said Ramon Prat, Founder and Managing Director of ACTAR.

Andreas Kösters, President STM Asia / Local America & Europe / Pharma, added: “This sale will allow us to concentrate on our business in science, technology and medical (STM) publishing.  At the same time, the sale allows Birkhäuser to pursue new opportunities with a strong partner specialised in the architecture and design publishing market.”

Founded in Basel in 1879, Birkhäuser is one of Europe’s leading publishers in architecture and design, and a brand of great distinction throughout the world.  It publishes almost 100 new titles each year, primarily in English and German, and has a solid international reputation for producing books of the highest quality and content.  Birkhäuser titles encompass the works of prominent architects; technical handbooks covering construction, building technology, and the basics of design; books on landscape architecture, urban planning and the history and theory of architecture; and architectural guides on cities, countries, and regions.  Birkhäuser is particularly renowned for its editions of Complete Works and Monographs on leading 20th and 21st centuries architects, from Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto to Herzog / de Meuron and Peter Zumthor.

ACTAR will also publish and distribute the design magazine form.  Since 2002, form tracks the latest developments in interior architecture, product, graphic and web design.  form is published every two months in a bilingual English / German edition and is the leading magazine for industrial and graphic design in the German-speaking countries.

ACTAR will distribute Birkhäuser titles worldwide through its subsidiary ACTAR-D (, an international book distributor specializing in architecture, graphic design, and contemporary art titles published by ACTAR, as well as titles from over 80 publishers, museums, and institutions from all over the world.

Notes to editors:

ACTAR: Founded in Barcelona in 1994, ACTAR ( is an international publisher of groundbreaking books in architecture, graphic design, and contemporary art.  Its publishing program focuses on the works of established and emerging architects, designers, and photographers at the forefront of contemporary praxis and theory. ACTAR titles represent a broad cross-section of the seminal works, thinkers and creators who affect the character of current design research and practice and its relationship to the larger societal context. ACTAR is a publishing house that explores open relationships between the creative mediums of the visual arts, between producers and users, and between publisher and readers.

While a relatively young company, in a few years ACTAR has gained international recognition for its novel architecture and design books, which have received numerous awards. ACTAR books are the result of collaborative undertakings with architects such as OMA / Rem Koolhaas, Foreign Office Architects / Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo, MVRDV/Winy Maas, UNStudio, Massimiliano Fuksas, Diller + Scofidio, Toyo Ito, SANAA/ Kazuyo Sejima, Sanford Kwinter, and Kazys Varnelis; designers including Cla-SE,, VASAVA, Enric Jardí, Lars Harmsen, Dainippon Type Organization and Delaware; photographers like Joan Fontcuberta, Gabriele Basilico and Jordi Bernadó; artists such as John Berger, Alfredo Jaar, Miquel Barceló, and Anish Kapoor; architecture schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and ETH Zurich; and creative geniuses including world-acclaimed chef, Ferran Adrià of elBulli.

ACTAR is currently expanding its international business and the Birkhäuser acquisition is a strategic move by ACTAR that gives the group the global leading position in the production of Architecture and Design content.  To achieve this objective, ACTAR has recently brought on board new partners with the suitable financial resources, professional experience and specialist know-how to take the company into the future with confidence.

Springer Science+Business Media ( is a leading global scientific publisher, delivering quality content through innovative information products and services.  The company is also a trusted provider of local-language professional publications in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands.  In the science, technology and medicine (STM) sector, the group publishes around 2,000 journals and more than 6,500 new books a year, as well as the largest STM eBook Collection worldwide.  Springer has operations in about 20 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia, and more than 5,000 employees.  In 2008, it generated annual sales of around EUR 892 million.


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