Wolf D. Prix of Coop Himmelb(l)au gave the 4th annual Raimund Abraham memorial lecture this past Wednesday night at SCI-Arc, honoring Abraham with a congenial discussion of his friend and peer’s work. When Prix first started Coop Himmelb(l)au over 45 years ago, Abraham served as a strong influence, and the two developed a strong (if not somewhat combative) relationship as co-conspirators and fellow Austrians. Prix’s lecture reflected on a variety of Abraham’s work, alongside pieces from Günther Domenig, Hans Hollein, Walter Pilcher and others.
After Eric Owen Moss’s introduction, describing both Prix and Abraham as “those who lived on an island where no one else lived”, Wolf’s lecture focused on the lasting futurism of Abraham’s work and its continuing relevance in the context of a digital society. While so few of his designs were built, his drawings’ “were architecture -- why do we have to build these buildings if they’re already described so perfectly?”. Prix touched upon the concept of open systems throughout the lecture, and the ability for a structure to be constructively and positively informed by its vulnerabilities to the surroundings.
Throughout the presentation, what came across most forcefully was Prix's unrelenting respect for Abraham’s visionary drawings, and their ability to “articulate the difficulty of a new architecture -- articulate megastructures, and another, different perception of space.”
You can watch a livestream of the entire lecture here, courtesy of SCI-Arc’s Media Archive.