Peter Trummer with Elisabeth Sinnesberger, Pile City Vienna, Courtesy Peter Trummer Architect, © Peter Trummer/Elisabeth Sinnesberger, 2015.

Peter Trummer with Elisabeth Sinnesberger, Pile City Vienna, Courtesy Peter Trummer Architect, © Peter Trummer/Elisabeth Sinnesberger, 2015.

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents an exhibition celebrating the contributions of Austrian-American architects in the United States since the modernist period.

 September 25, 2019 – February 17, 2020
Opening Reception and Panel Talks: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) is pleased to present Resident Alien, an exhibition that explores the cultural contributions of migrant Austrian-American architects in the United States since the modernist period. Framed into five distinct categories – Primitive Domains, Aggregate Families, Urban Terrestrials, Cloud Natures, and Media Atmospheres, the exhibition investigates the concept of bicultural heritage constructed in spaces of the in-between alongside other formal, technological, atmospheric, and psychoanalytic architectural dialogues. Curated by Cal Poly professors Dr. Stephen Phillips, AIA (SPARCHS) and Axel Schmitzberger, AIA (domæn Inc.), Resident Alien: Austrian Architects in America will be on view from September 25, 2019 – February 17, 2020. The exhibition will notably highlight the significant innovations and impact of Austrian architects on modern, postmodern, deconstructivist, digital, and post-digital design culture over the past century. 

The exhibition will be opened in the presence of the Austrian Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Culture, Mr. Alexander Schallenberg.

The ACFNY’s gallery space is set to reflect the five themes of the exhibition. Building on architects’ recurring use of geometric primitive forms (rectangles, spheres, cones, and cylinders), the exhibition surveys the presence of these building blocks in the landscape – in a first gallery, Primitive Domains – and aggregated together into larger modular compositions – in the second gallery, Aggregate Families. The third section, Urban Terrestrials, explores the contextual placement of these forms in the urban environment through a selection of examples. Architecture of all scales – domestic, urban, global, and universal – has significant political, social, and environmental impact on the natural and built world. Titled Cloud Natures, the fourth theme examines environmental and ecological advocacy as it materializes in architecture and its design. The fifth and final gallery, Media Atmospheres, discusses architecture’s atmospheric effects, both physical and digital, and how they affect the human condition – the ways we live, and how we communicate. 

While these themes apply to most forms of architecture, the exhibition investigates them by considering the work of over forty Austrian-American architects, thereby exploring the implications of bi-cultural heritage in this context. Set in the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, these concerns take on a particular meaning. Specifically, the building, conceived by Austrian architect Raimund Abraham, acts as relevant case in point. The provocative structure, which could be described as a series of primitive trapezoidal geometric forms aggregated together into a complex tower, has a significant impact architecturally, environmentally, and culturally on Midtown Manhattan’s urban setting – one that resonates to this day in the global discourse. 

Featured architects and designers include:
Raimund Abraham, Herwig Baumgartner (B+U), Herbert Bayer, Ella Briggs, Elizabeth Close, Matias del Campo & Sandra Manninger (SPAN), Paul Frankl, Victor Gruen, Erwin Hauer, Haus-Rucker-Co., Coop Himmelb(l)au, Hans Hollein, Waltraut Hoheneder, Barbara Imhof, and René Waclavicek (LIQUIFER Systems Group), Christoph Kapeller, Frederick Kiesler, Hubert Klumpner (Urban-Think Tank), Julia Koerner, Duks Koschitz, Christoph a. Kumpusch (Forward slash ( / )), Andrea Lenardin (a-l-m project), Adolf Loos, Mark Mack, Richard Neutra, Charles Paterson, Carl Pruscha, Bernard Rudofsky, Friedrich St.Florian, Rudolph Schindler, Axel Schmitzberger (domaen), Peter Trummer, Joseph Urban, Bettina Zerza, Liane Zimbler, and Susanne Zottl.

The exhibition has been supported by generous contributions from List GC, Zumtobel Group, and Arktura.


About the Curators:
Resident Alien is curated by Stephen Phillips, an architect, historian, scholar and founding director of the Cal Poly Los Angeles Metropolitan Program in Architecture and Urban Design alongside Axel Schmitzberger, an architect, graphic designer, and educator who is principal of domaen Inc., an architecture and construction company in Los Angeles.

About the Austrian Cultural Forum New York:
With its architectural landmark building in Midtown Manhattan, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is dedicated to innovative and cutting-edge programming, showcasing the best of Austrian contemporary art, music, literature, performance, and academic thought in New York and throughout the United States. In addition to presenting three group exhibitions per year in its multi-level gallery space and housing around 10,000 volumes of Austriaca in its library dedicated to Frederic Morton, it hosts over 100 free events per year in its own auditorium and supports at least as many projects at partner institutions across the nation.