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Thread: Austrian Cultural Forum

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    Open House NY

    Austrian Cultural Forum

    11 E 52nd St/ Fifth Ave
    neighborhood: Midtown
    Sat: Oct 6, 10am-4pm
    Sun: Closed
    Tours on the hour.
    Maximum people: 12 per tour
    building date: 2002
    architect: Raimund Abraham

    This dramatic, tapering tower has a multilevel gallery and performance space for Austrian-American art collaborations.

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    Raimund Abraham, Architect With Vision, Dies at 76

    Published: March 6, 2010

    Raimund Abraham, an architect who was known primarily for his visionary drawings of mostly unrealizable projects but whose Austrian Cultural Forum, a slim skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan completed in 2002, was hailed as one of the most exciting New York buildings in decades, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 76 and lived in Manhattan and Mexico City.

    He died in a car accident, said Joan Springhetti, a spokeswoman for the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where Mr. Abraham taught and had given a lecture a few hours before his death.

    Mr. Abraham, an Austrian by birth, worked and taught in the United States since 1964, primarily at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture in New York.

    He influenced a generation of architectural students as much through his insistence on the socially ennobling role of architecture, and its integrity as a discipline, as through his work.

    He channeled most of his energies into detailed, darkly shaded drawings of visionary projects like “Houses Without Rooms” and “Seven Gates to Eden.”

    “He always felt that a drawing was as much architecture as a building,” said the architect Lebbeus Woods. “Architecture, for him, existed as an act, a concept, a discipline.”

    Although he considered himself a functionalist, Mr. Abraham said he believed in the role of the architect as a creator of sacred spaces and as an explorer of the gloomier chambers of the human soul. Danger and risk haunted his work.

    “If I did not include the anticipation of terror in my architecture, it would not be worth anything,” he said in a 2001 interview with the Austrian Cultural Forum.

    He once described the Austrian Cultural Forum building as “a cross between ‘Blade Runner’ and an Easter Island sculpture,” and at other times likened its cascading sheet-glass facade to a guillotine.

    Squeezed into a plot only 25 feet wide at 11 East 52nd Street, the 24-story tower staked its claim to the streetscape aggressively, with a brooding, masklike facade of sloping tinted-glass louvers that seem suspended, defying the laws of gravity.

    “Although framed in glass and steel, the quintessential modern materials, the facade evokes a time before modernism or even before written histories, a time of incantation, magic, awe,” Benjamin Forgey, the Washington Post architecture critic, wrote in a review of the building.

    The architectural historian Kenneth Frampton, who served on the jury that chose Mr. Abraham for the commission, called the building “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum of 1959.”

    Raimund Johann Abraham was born on July 23, 1933, in Lienz, in the Tyrol. He studied architecture at the Technical University in Graz and in 1959 established an architectural studio in Vienna, where he soon emerged as a leading avant-gardist.

    In 1964 he took up residence in the United States, where he taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and, from 1971, at the Cooper Union in Manhattan and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In 2003 he became a visiting faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

    He is survived by a daughter, Una, of Vienna.

    His completed buildings include the Pless House in Vienna (1960-64), a low-income housing development in Providence, R.I., built in the late 1960s and a residential and commercial building on Kochstrasse in Berlin (1980-85).

    He also, with Kevin Bone, converted a former courthouse on lower Second Avenue in Manhattan into a new facility for the Anthology Film Archives (1980-89) and, with Carl Pruscha, designed the Traviatagasse housing estate in Vienna (1988-91), consisting of silolike concrete units.

    Some of his most admired buildings were two-dimensional. His design for a new Times Square Tower, consisting of stacked movie theaters, was one of eight winners in a competition held by the Municipal Art Society in 1984.

    His work was the subject of many museum exhibitions and the book “Raimund Abraham: (Un)built” (1996).

    At his death, the Musicians’ House, an artists’ residence that he designed in the form of a severely geometrical tilted saucer, was under construction in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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    Senior Swanky Peteynyc1's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Hell's Kitchen


    The Kunsthaus of Graz

    Published by misha in Arts, Austria, Cultural, Europe, Museums, Photos, Travel Stories, Urban Tourism

    Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.

    The Kunsthaus of Graz is located to the flank of the river Mur, Austria and has been designed like an artistic centre to organize international exhibitions of multidisciplinary modern art.

    The main particularity of this project is the façade: its biomorphic outer surface can display manifold aspects, since it can be electronically modified. Its blue skin shining fleet on a glassy and reflecting surface causes a bubble effect.

    The company Berliner BIX has created an unique fusion between architecture and mediatic technology with the design made for this building. The 900sm of multimedia installation, made with light rings, is arranged underneath an acrylic glass surface oriented towards the river; it can be considered like a great urban screen, a new instrument for the artistic production. All this is possible using 93circular lamps od flouresent light of 40W, were each lamp works like a pixel that can be conrolled individually from a central computer; of this from, simple signs images and films of low resolution can be projected throughout all the façade.

    Behind this skin realities: united has installed a field of neon lamps. The covered area is approximately 20m high and 45m broad. Each lamp is individually infinitely adjustable.Luminosity can be varied between 0% and 100%. With the help of digital conrelled system animations, graphics and alphabets can be displayed. A speed of 20 frames per second can be achieved.

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    May 2010
    Washington, DC


    Simply hideous.

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    Senior Swanky Peteynyc1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Hell's Kitchen


    Was pretty cool to see in person though. From up on the hill across the river you look down and see this funky modern blob amongst the centuries old buildings in the old city. It really looks bizarre.

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