Architect : Coop Himmelblau
Locality : Wien
Country : Austria
Building style : Deconstructivism
Project on the map (green arrow)
The initial sketches were produced in 1983, but when translated into proper plans, the scheme seemed too risky and had trouble gaining planning permission. Since the design did not provide a continuous roof surface, oriels, and turrets, and did not respect the materials, proportions, and colors found in the existing urban context, the authorities failed to recognize it as a building at all. The mayor found a way out of the dilemma: he declared the roof to be a work of art, and gave the project his blessing.
The ”skin” of this sculptural space was supported by a raking steel-trussed girder with welded tie members. Supported at the sides and spanning the corner of the building, like the vertebrae of an exposed spine, it points like an energy vector down toward the street. Fixed to this cold bolt of lightning, which forms the principal element of the load-bearing structure, are folded plates, planar structures, and trussed struts. The roof membrane of the roof comprises curved sheets of glass, sheet-metal latticework, panels, and shingles. The whole resembles a snapshot of a disastrous collision, yet nothing actually moves. According to the structural engineer, the complexity of the calculations required for the load-bearing structure lay between those for ”a bridge and an aircraft”.
The various coverings on the exterior determine the views out and the ingress of daylight for the large conference room, which has a maximum height of almost 8 meters, and also contains a gallery level. The roof swerves over a vast conference table like a constructional thunderstorm, inevitably with a number of unorthodox abutments between the various elements.
Wolfgang Bachmann, ”Icons of Architecture. The 20th Century.” Edited by Sabine Thiel-Siling. Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 2005, p. 152.
Ed. Heikki Nikkinen