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Wolf D. Prix

1942 Wien

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. Together with Helmut Swiczinsky, Wolf D. Prix founded the celebrated architectural practice Coop Himmelb(l)au in 1968.
From the outset, they strove to subvert Modernism in architecture, design and art. The first architectural designs produced by Coop Himmelb(l)au are pneumatic spatial constructs. In London they designed the "House with a Flying Roof" in 1973, half as an architectural project, half as an art Happening. The roof of the house was lifted into the air by means of a large balloon.
In the 1980s, Coop Himmelb(l)au came to be a leading exponent of Deconstructivism in architecture since their projects notably represented fragmentary and redefined structures. Coop Himmelb(l)lau also took part in the exhibition "Deconstructive Architecture", mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1988.
For Vitra, Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky designed "Vodöl" (1989), an armchair with a disassembled frame and slanting upholstery, a Deconstructivist new take on the "Grand Confort" chair designed in 1928 by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Jean Jeanneret.
The most important buildings designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au include the East Pavilion of the Groningen Museums (1993-94), the SEG residential tower in Vienna (1994-98), the Great Egyptian Museum in Cairo (2002-03) and the Akron Art Museum in Ohio (2001-06).
In 2005 Coop Himmelb(l)au designed the large extension of the Munich Art Academy in Munich. The Musée des Confluences building in Lyon (completion planned for 2008) resembles a solid crystalline cloud of glass and steel. In Munich Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky are also realizing "BMW Welt", again featuring a sculptural, cloud-like roof which seems to float above the architectural substructure as if detached from it. In 2005 Coop Himmelb(l)au was commissioned to build the European Central Bank in Frankfurt am Main, which is scheduled for completion by 2011.
Wolf D. Prix has been a professor of architecture at the Universität für angewandte Kunst (University of Applied Art) in Vienna since 1993. Since 2003 he has also been head of the Architectural Insitute there and is vice-chancellor of the university. In 1984 Wolf D. Prix was a visiting professor at the Architectural Association in London and, in 1990, at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. In 2006 Wolf D. Prix is commissioner of the Austrian Pavilion at the 10th Architecture Biennale in Venice.

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