Information Aktuelle Projekte Biografie Publikationen Zentrum Transfer Publikationen: Wolf D. Prix: GET OFF of my cloud
german language version
Coop Himmelb(l)au

„Entwerfen (design) comes from 'werfen'.
Planning has to do with 'Ahnung' (premonition)“

in: Wolf D. Prix / Coop Himmelb(l)au:
Get OFF of my cloud
Texts 1968-2005

Editor: Martina Kandeler-Fritsch, Thomas Kramer
Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit 2005
Forewords: Jeffrey Kipnis, Christian Reder

„Entwerfen (design) comes from 'werfen'.
Planning has to do with 'Ahnung' (premonition)“

In view of this collection of texts on urbanism, architecture, and limitless conceptual worlds, it would be plausible to understand and acknowledge Wolf D. Prix primarily as an author, as someone who writes – and not as an architect – if he would have had to remain content with the formulation of claims, of visions, and of theories. If he had never been able to build with Coop Himmelb(l)au – with the resolution "to make architecture as variable as clouds", to pointedly contribute to shaping "the three dimensional culture" – then he would have written provocative theses or mind-blowing lyrics as the poetic expression of what is conceivable, desirable, but unable to concretize. He was never held back by circumstances – which, despite superficial freedoms, prohibit so much – because he has a desire to build. He presents how greatly the material constraints, which constrict everything possible – including people, of course – into some type of bookkeeping, can be constructively confused and enriched. As Majakowski did in his day, Wolf D. Prix confronts an almost compulsively paralyzed public and ist leading exponents with a staccato tempo of model-like solutions, only his are expanded by the freedorm of no longer having to believe in a revolution:

"The tougher the times, the tougher the architecture."
"... incongruous aesthetics are political aesthetics."
"The builders of the Tower of Babel lacked the material of reinforced concrete. We lack the material of language confusion, which we need to complete it."
"We are looking for the unknown, for uncertain grounds, and diversity."
'Making mistakes' is the building material of architecture. The unconscious and coincidence can be the planning method."
"We break up the word 'Entwurf' (design) into the syllable 'ent' and the word 'wurf. Ent-wurf (de-sign). The prefix ent as in ent-äußern, to renounce, or ent-flammen, to stir up. Wurf like werfen, to throw."
"Planning clearly has something to do with premonition."

He constantly beguiled adverse conditions with images, with linguistic images, with highly experimental models, and with the insistent claim that far more is possible than is considered so. He is permanently involved in further developing dramatically expanded dimensions for the favorite buzzword of today's conceivers of efficiency and designers of reality – feasibility: worlds of emotion, surprise spaces that open up vast realms. If he were a linguist or philosopher, already this alone would be considered a remarkable achievement. Who else is so successful in vividly cracking open ceinented-in word use that the result of this process actually stands before our eyes in built examples? Grouchy, futile dissenting voices bemoaning Palladio – why is everything so crooked, why is there so little love of detail, all order is repealed, everything seems to fly away, it mocks harmonious symmetries, it can only generate an effect as media hype – sound that much more morose after the realization of the first major buildings, like an echo od a gloomy past that ricochets from the technical possibilities and livelier, hybrid urbanity.

"Completely giving up the dream of a changed world," Wolf D. Prix said to me recently in a published conversation on the theme of project worlds, "woluld fade out essential dimensions of our self understanding. All that is certain is that architecture can't afford to do that. Architecture can actually block a lot. It is the architect's responsibility to recognize this and as an offensive strategy, to always think of possibilities." Also the great poet of our generation, Bob Dylan, has remained a realistic believer. "It was said," he wrote in his Chronicles, "that World War II spelled the end of the Age of Enlightenment, but I wouldn't have known it. I was still in it. Somehow I could still remember and feel the light of something about it." When light and space play such a delimiting role as they do for Coop Himmelb(l)au, the questions of progress are posed differently; totally direct.

© Christian Reder 2005