Raimund Abraham

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Raimund Johann Abraham
Born (1933-07-23)July 23, 1933
Lienz, Tyrol, Austria
Died March 4, 2010(2010-03-04)
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater Technical University, Graz
Occupation architect

Raimund Johann Abraham (July 23, 1933 [1] – March 4, 2010 [2]) was an Austrian architect.[3]

Austrian Cultural Forum New York
Neues Bild 4
Anthology Film Archives
Oberwart Haus Dellacher

Early life and formal education[edit]

Raimund Johann Abraham, (born 1933, Lienz, Austriadied March 4, 2010, Los Angeles, California), [4] created visionary architectural projects and built works, in Europe and the United States, throughout a 40-year career.[5] Abraham studied at the Technical University of Graz, from 1952-1958, and in 1959, he established a studio in Vienna, where he explored the depths and boundaries of architecture through building, drawing, and montage.[6] In 1964, he moved to the United States.

Architecture career[edit]

Abraham's poetic vision of an architecture was influenced by the Viennese tradition of aligning architecture with sculpture, as well as the ideas of Austrian physicist and philosopher, Ernest Mach. Abraham theorized architecture on a collision course with human needs and desires, yet striving for coexistence, in a state of creative tension. [7] During the late 1950s and early 1960s, his enigmatic architecture placed him among the avant-garde, such as Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, and Günther Domenig. In 1958, Abraham, collaborating with Friedrich St. Florian, placed 3rd in an international competition for the Pan Arabian University of Saudi Arabia, and 2nd for the Democratic Republic of the Congo Cultural Center, Leopoldville (1959). [8] Abraham was critical of mainstream architecture's preoccupations with style and fashion, it's indifference to history, and a rigid definition of Modernism. [9] He influenced generations of professional architects through his drawings, projects, and teaching.

Abraham's notable built works include House Dellacher (1963–67) Oberwart, Burgenland, Austria, a Public Housing Complex, (1968–69) and an Experimental Kindergarten (1969-70) in Providence, Rhode Island. Abraham was awarded the commission for Rainbow Plaza (1973–77), Niagara Falls, New York, (co-designed with Giuliano Fiorenzoli), and the transformation of New Essex Market Courthouse, at 32 Second Avenue in New York City into the Anthology Film Archives (1980–89), in collaboration with Kevin Bone and Joseph Levin. [10] A portfolio of prints, Untitled, marked the occasion. [11] He also designed Friedrichstrasse 32/33 (1980–87), Berlin, Germany, and Traviatagasse (1987-1991), Vienna, two Austria housing complexes, the latter with Carl Pruscha, Residential/Commercial Building (1990–93), in Graz, Austria, [12] and House Bernard (1985), Hypo-House (1993–96), and Hypo-Bank (1993-96), in Lienz, Tyrol, Austria, as well as his own home in Mazunte, Mexico. [13] [14] Abraham's best known building is the Austrian Cultural Forum New York (1993-02), which architectural historian Kenneth Frampton has recognized as “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and Guggenheim Museum in 1959.” [15] Another project, House for Musicians (1999), in Düsseldorf, Germany, was completed posthumously in 2013. [16][17]

Abraham was awarded a Stone Lion in 1985 at the 3rd International Architecture Exhibition for "Progetto Venezia," an international competition of the Venice Biennale, directed by Aldo Rossi, [18] and the Grand Prize of Architecture in 1995, and a Gold Medal of Honor, in 2005, for meritorious service to the Province of Vienna. [19]

Drawing architecture[edit]

Abraham is known for creating visionary architectural hand-drawings. [20] He asserted a notion of a drawing being as much a work of architecture as a building. Critics describe Abraham’s drawings as architectural poetry on paper. [21] During the 1960s and 70s, Abraham's interest in the typology of the house inspired a number of projects. He created masterful imaginative architectural drawings, accompanied by evocative titles and texts, such as [22] Earth-Cloud House, project (1970), The House with Curtains Project, Perspective (1972), The House Without Rooms, project, elevation and plan (1974), [23] and The Cosmology of The House (1974), which explore the relationships among dwelling, human subjectivity, and spatial conditions. [24] The arcvhitural vision of shadowy transitional worlds, such as Terza Mostra d' Architettura, (1985), Black Box, Metropolitan Core (2010), and Radar Cities, existing between the walls of a valley, or beneath a membrane collecting solar energy. are preceint meditations on architectural scale, not based upon the measurements of the human body, but rather, a multi-sensory perception of media and imagination, holding forth the potential of non-finite expansion. [25][26] Abraham's unbuilt commissions, such as City Of Twofold Vision, Cannaregio West, (1978–80), for Venice, Italy, Les Halles Redevelopment, (1980), Paris, France, and Interior (2001), and The New Acropolis Museum (2002), Athens, Greece, articulate new ideas about the contextualization of monumentality. [27] [28]


The work of Raimund Abraham has been exhibited widely at museums and galleries worldwide, including Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museo Correr, Venice, Italy; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Pinacotheca, Athens, Greece; National Gallery (Berlin); Venice Biennale; German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt; Krinzinger Gallery, Innsbruck; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts of Chicago, Illinois; and the Museum of Modern Art and Architectural League of New York.

Solo exhibitions and programs[edit]

  • 2015: Scenes from the Life of Raimund Abraham (2013). Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) Premiere, Copenhagen, :::Denmark. [29]
  • 2011: Raimund Abraham "Musikerhaus." The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union of New York.
Horst Kappauf on House for Musicians: A Great Architecture by Raimund Abraham. [30]
  • 2005: Raimund Abraham: Jing Ya Ocean Entertainment Center. Frederieke Taylor Gallery, New York, N.Y. [31]
  • 2001: Raimund Abraham : Buildings, images 1990-2000. Aam Gallery, 9 Via Castelfidaro, Milan, Italy [32]
Conference Loci last Venice, IUAV, Palazzo Badoer, Manfredo Tafuri.

Group exhibitions[edit]

Academic career[edit]

Abraham first taught at the Rhode Island School of Design of Providence, Rhode Island, [47] and then for 31-years, as a professor of architecture at the Cooper Union, Manhattan, and adjunct faculty at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. He was also a Visiting Professor to numerous schools, including Yale School of Architecture and Environmental Studies, (Spring ’85), Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, (SCI-Arc) and the Open Atelier of Design and Architecture (OADA), New York City. and the universities of Graz, London, and Strasbourg. [48][49][50][51]


  1. ^ AEIOU profile on Raimund Abraham 4 March 2010
  2. ^ "Experimental Architect Raimund Abraham Dies in Car Accident" LA Times.com 4 March 2010
  3. ^ William Grimes, "Raimund Abraham, 76, Dies; Architect Known for Visionary Drawings", The New York Times, March 6, 2010, retrieved 12 March 2010
  4. ^ Abraham, Raimund. "Raimund Johann AbrahamAustrian-born American architect". Encyclopedia Britinicanna. 
  5. ^ "Tribute to Raimund Abraham". The Austrian Cultural Forum NYC. May 13, 2005. 
  6. ^ Weibel, Peter, ed. (May 17, 2005). Beyond Art: A Third Culture: A Comparative Study in Cultures, Art and Science in 20th Century Austria and Hungary (1st ed.). Vienna: Springer Vienna Architecture. ISBN 3211245626. 
  7. ^ Woods, Lebbeus (April 4, 2010). "Tribute> Raimund Abraham". The Architect's Newspaper. 
  8. ^ Morgan, William (March 1, 2014). "Submission Requirements: Design competitions and the creative economy.". AIA Architect. 
  9. ^ Sennott, Stephen, ed. (January 1, 2004). Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 5. ISBN 1579584349. 
  10. ^ "About/ History". Anthology Film Archives. 
  11. ^ "Untitled: Artist/ Maker Raimund Abraham". Reynolda House. Reynolda House Museum of American Art. 
  12. ^ Düriegl, Günter, ed. (April 22, 2010). "Architect Raim Abraham has died in an accident". Rotweissenrot: 40. 
  13. ^ "The Architecture of the Austrian Cultural Institute by Raimund Abraham". Architekturzentrum Wien. 1999. 
  14. ^ Hill, John, ed. (December 5, 2011). New York City, Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture (1 ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393733262. 
  15. ^ "Raimund Abraham (1933 – 2010)". Austrian Information 63 (Spring 2010). 
  16. ^ Quirk, Vanessa (July 23, 2012). "Raimund Abraham's Final Work / Photographer Thomas Mayer". Arch Daily. 
  17. ^ Taylor, James (February 7, 2014). "Raimund Abraham's Last Project Realized at Former NATO Missile Base". Arch Daily. 
  18. ^ Walker Art Center (1983). "Site: The Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture". Design Quarterly 122: 35–36. JSTOR 4091084. 
  19. ^ Beaver, Robin; Slessor, Catherine (eds.). Contemporary Architecture CA1, CA1 Series, Volume 1 of CA: Contemporary Architecture. p. 241. 
  20. ^ Amelar, Sarah (March 9, 2010). "In Memoriam: Raimund Johann Abraham (1933-2010)". Architectural Record. 
  21. ^ Miller, Norbert (2011). "Imagination and the calculus of reality. Raimund Abraham [UN]BUILT". Springer. 
  22. ^ McQuaid, Matilda, ed. (2002). Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. 
  23. ^ Riley, Terrance, ed. (2002). The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. p. 116. 
  24. ^ Keeney, Gavin (2011). Else-where”: Essays in Art, Architecture, and Cultural Production 2002-2011. Newcatsle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 144383405X. 
  25. ^ Manaugh, Geoff. "I'm exposing matter to the forces of time...". Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA). 
  26. ^ Sky, Alison; Michelle, Stone, eds. (1976). Unbuilt America: Forgotten Architecture in the United States from Thomas Jefferson to the Space Age. New York: McGraw Hill. 
  27. ^ "Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress". The Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Division. 
  28. ^ Baraona Pohl, Ethel (September 2, 2011). "Reviews: Raimund Abramah [Un]Built: 15 years after its publication, the second edition". Domus. 
  29. ^ Taubin, Amy (December 19, 2015). "Friends With Benefits". ArtForum. 
  30. ^ "Raimund Abraham "Musikerhaus". NY Art Beat. 2011. 
  31. ^ "RAIMUND ABRAHAM: JingYa Ocean Entertainment Center Beijing". Frederieke Taylor Gallery. 
  32. ^ "Raimund Abraham in mostra a Milano". AR 30 (2): 58. January 2002. 
  33. ^ "Books Celebrating Exhibitions: [UN]BUILT Raimund Abraham". The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  34. ^ Abraham, R. (1986). Fingerle, Christoph Mayr, ed. "Raimund Abraham : Ungebaut". Bozen: Forum AR/GE Kunst. OCLC 875488333. 
  35. ^ Abraham, Raimund; Campo, B.A, (1983). Raimund Abraham: Obras y proyectos, 1960-1983. Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Escuela T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Madrid: Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid, Comisión de Cultura. ISBN 8485572564. 
  36. ^ Abraham, R.J.; Ott, N. (1983). "Raimund Abraham Berlin Projekte [1980 - 1983] ; Kirche an der Mauer, zwei Monumente, IBA Projekt ; Ausstellung vom 27. Mai bis 2. Juli 1983". Berlin: Aedes. OCLC 615123352. 
  37. ^ Ryan, Raymund (May 13, 2010). "The life of Raimund Abraham: Remembering the ‘incurable formalist’, Austrian architect Raimund Abraham, 1933-2010". The Architectural Review. 
  38. ^ Khachiyan, Anna (2015). "Bleak House: A MoMA exhibition on the single-family home and its archetypes tells us a lot without saying anything at all". The Museum of Modern Art. 
  39. ^ Gardner, James (July 24, 2008). "Chaos and Danger in Architectural Design". Arts. The New York Sun. 
  40. ^ Johnson, Ken (February 1, 2008). "Art Review: Under Pain of Death". The New York Times. 
  41. ^ "Hombroich spaceplacelab : laboratory for other modes of living, 9:1=landscape:building". La Biennale di Venezia. 2004. OCLC 888762634. 
  42. ^ Abraham, Raimund (1999). The Architecture of The Austrian Cultural Forum. Saltzburg: Verlag Anton Pustet. 
  43. ^ "Architecture: Seven Architects". Institute of Contemporary Art University of Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  44. ^ Apraxine, Pierre; Castelli Gallery, Leo; University of Pennsylvania (1977). "Architecture I : Raimund Abraham, Emilio Ambasz, Richard Meier, Walter Pichler, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling, Venturi and Rauch". New York: Leo Castelli. OCLC 4155863. 
  45. ^ Sitney, P. Adam. "Seven gates to Eden". London: Art Net. OCLC 63169912. 
  46. ^ "The Collection: Raimund Abraham: Glacier City, from the Linear City Series Project, Sectional perspective 1964". Museum of Modern Art. 
  47. ^ "Raimund Abraham, former RISD faculty member dies in Los Angeles". RISD Academic Affairs. March 16, 2010. 
  48. ^ Whitten, Theodore; Osman, Michael, eds. (September 19, 1999). Retrospecta, 98/99: The Annual Retrospective of the Yale School of Architecture. ISBN 0967402107. 
  49. ^ "Raimund Abraham Seven Gates". Architecture Association School of Architecture. January 13, 1977. 
  50. ^ "SCI-Arc NEWS: ARCHITECT RAIMUND ABRAHAM (1933-2010) Dies in Car Accident in Los Angeles". Southern California Institute of Architecture. March 4, 2010. 
  51. ^ The New School Archives & Special Collections. "Diital Collections: Raimund Abraham". The New School. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Groihofer, Brigitte (Ed.): Raimund Abraham [UN]Built. Springer, 1996
  • Abraham, R.J.; Dapra, J (1964). Elementare architektur. Salzburg: Residenz Verlag. 

External links[edit]