|The metal-clad Z-Bank (1979), in Vienna, Austria, was designed by Austrian Architect Günther Domenig. Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia user Ninanuri|
Austrian deconstructivist architect Günther Domenig died on June 15, 2012 at the age of 77. Wolf D. Prix, director of the Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, issued the following press release: a reflection on Domenig. --Editor
Domenig and the Austrian Architecture
by Wolf D. Prix
On YouTube, the famous American rapper "Ice Cube" can be viewed while he is explaining the Eames House, in Los Angeles, California, in a competent way. I am questioning myself, whether a similar scene would be possible in Austria: DJ Ötzi or the Trackshittaz explain Günther Domenig's Steinhaus.
The word "important" as preliminary stage to being a star is used in an inflationary way today. Nevertheless I insist that Günther Domenig was one of the most important Austrian architects. Important in terms of being weighty.
In my opinion the former Z-Bank branch in the Favoritenstraße in Vienna was one of his best buildings. Long before the convoluted computer architects started using parametric tools to give their lame design a boost, Domenig had not only designed the first three- dimensional facade, but actually built it, too.
Himself, he has never differed from architecture and art, has been able to achieve a building that is uncompromising – located in the baroque thought - creating expressive space sequences and therefore connotes an important contribution to the Austrian Architecture.
It's amazing, that this building has only been possible in a peripheral district, and not in the city center of Vienna.
|Domenig also designed the Steinhaus in Steindorf, Austria. Photo: Hans Peter Schaefer|
"Domenig and University of Applied Arts"
I don't know whether the responsible parties at the University of Applied Arts know who Domenig was, but in the light of recent events I would like to invite them to review your intentions to move our university into the run-down building of the WU University, even just for the next few years. At least the Institute of Architecture could use the opportunity as a statement by moving into the former Z-Bank home planned by Domenig in the "Favoritenstraße".
A Text that I wrote for Domenig in 1988
On Günther Domenig
He constructed buildings like boxers throw punches. His ring was the square of the construction site marked out by the theodolite. His opponent: the building. His strength was the skillful inside fight, not the distant battle. Breathing heavily, he stood in the ring, his head drilled into the paper breast of the problem; he slugged hooks of cement, swings of steel, uppercuts of detail from the shoulder. It wasn't elegant, but immensely powerful. And effective.
He always won before the clock ran out.
His buildings were standing knock-outs.
In his monastery, dressed in his sumptuous memory robes, surrounded by the scattered trophies from his victories, engulfed by the choral songs of his friends and followers, he will rest, left to tend to his wounds and relive his dreams. We will visit him.