Coop Himmelb(l)au

Coop Himmelb(l)au
   A cooperative Vienna-based architectural firm founded by Wolfgang Prix (1942–) and a Vienna-trained Pole, Helmut Swiczinski (1944–), in 1968. Both men studied and taught in London, and Prix taught in Los Angeles as well. Their work received its first major international acclaim at a show called “Deconstructivist Architecture,” put on by the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1988. Coop Himmelb(l)au now has offices in the United States (U.S.) and Mexico.
   Prix and Swiczinski declared war on the drab, and cost-conscious, functionalism of much post–World War II building design in central and east central Europe. The name of their firm means “sky blue” with the “l” and “building into the sky” without it. Neither man made any serious distinction between architecture and art. The hallmark of Himmel(b)lau’s products is a daringly dramatic use of undulating lines and improbable angles that, asymmetrical as they appear at first glance, flow seamlessly from buildings and set off the surrounding environment. Crisply finished planes on roofs and building exteriors advertise the cutting edge nature of their designs. Recent, and very successful, examples are the BMW motor vehicle showroom in Munich and an addition to the Akron Museum of Art in the U.S., both of which opened in 2007.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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