Wolf D. Prix
* 1942 Wien
The architects and designers Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky founded Coop Himmelb(l)au, a joint practice, in Vienna in 1968. From the outset Prix and Swiczinsky strove to subvert Modernism in all their projects in the fields of architecture, design, and art. In 1973 Coop Himmelb(l)lau built a "House with a Flying Roof" in London, with a roof - half architectural project, half art Happening - that was lifted into the sky by a large balloon. In the 1980s, Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky became heavy-weight exponents of Deconstructivism with the fragmentary structures they called "open architecture". In 1988 Coop Himmelb(l)lau took part in the exhibition "Deconstructive Architecture", mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1989 Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky designed the "Vodöl" armchair for Vitra, a Deconstructivist take on the "Grand Confort" 1928 armchair by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Jean Jeanneret entworfenen Sessels "Grand Comfort". The most important museum projects hitherto undertaken by Coop Himmelb(l)au include the East Pavilion of the Groningen Museum (1993/94), the Great Egyptian Museum in Cairo (2002/03), the Akron Art Museum in Ohio (2001-2006), the large extension to the Munich Art Academy in Munich (2005), and the Musée des Confluences in Lyon (2001-2008), which is designed to resemble a solid crystalline cloud of glass and steel. In Vienna Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinky designed the SEG residential tower (1994-1998). In 2005 Coop Himmelb(l)au was commissioned to build the European Central Bank in Frankfurt am Main (completion scheduled for 2011). In Munich, "BMW Welt" is going up after plans by Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky, a structure with a sculptural roof that seems to float, detached from the architectural substructure (completion scheduled for 2007). Born in Vienna in 1942, Wolf D. Prix studied architecture at the Technische Universität in Vienna, the Architectural Association in London, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles. Since 1993 Wolf D. Prix has been a professor of architecture at the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst in Vienna (since 1998: Universität für angewandte Kunst); since 2003 Wolf D. Prix has been head of the Architectural Institute there and vice-chancellor of the university. In Wolf D. Prix was a visiting professor at the prestigious Architectural Association in London and at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, in 1990. In 2006 Wolf D. Prix is commissioner for the Austrial Pavilion at the 10th Architecture Biennale in Venice.