Recipients 1992


Schelling Architecture Prize 1992
Coop Himmelb(l)au| Helmut Swiczinsky & Wolf D. Prix

“At an early stage, these two have showed the path to deconstructivism in architecture with their visionary sketches.”

Coop Himmelb(l)au is a mental state of emergency, having lasted over twenty years. It it is the attempt to pull away the rug beneath the feet so that at least the head can pass through the wall. What was once Coop Himmelb(l)au’s provocative aesthetic has today become an internationally recognized paradigmatic architecture. What for modernism was once the collage, Coop Himmelb(l)aus have turned into a crash. Their aesthetic of the accidental constitutes the built reaction time; they cultivate the shock of the impact up to the last detail. For this reason, Coop Himmelb(l)au’s buildings can be termed quite unmetaphorically as urban sound-boxes. They reflect and amplify the enormous overlay effects of large cities. Quite different from many of their “deconstructivist” comrade-at-arms, they are practitioners without theoretical concept. Jacques Derrida’s writings, for example, Prix and Swiczinsky have only heard of second hand. For them, their built abstractions come into existence out of their unperturbed conception. They were the first to liberate architecture from the technical and formal constraints of history. Although they have found comrades-at-arms and imitators all over the world, they are still the best of their kind by miles. Michael Mönninger


Schelling Architectural Theory Prize 1992
Werner Durth

“Architects’ dreams, pains and interrelationships beyond the visible successes is his theme.”

Not only can Werner Durth lay claim to be one of the first, but also someone who has made transparent the “biographic interrelationships” between German architects of our century using a very special and decidedly independent method. For example, how architects were already beginning to replan German cities even during the collapsing Nazi regime, unburdened by the least moral considerations, and how, subsequently, during the early phase of German reconstruction, they were able to rapidly establish themselves, all of this is knowledge wrought against obstruction, for which we have to thank above all Werner Durth. His thirst for knowledge is neither devoted to the traditional nor bourgeois intellectual notion of the “good, true and beautiful”, but to the architectural political responsibility to which the said architects were exposed as well as their reactions to such a challenge. For this reason it is quite logical that Durth has turned to the objectified results of such biographic behaviours in architectural historiographic terms in a second step following the research into the personal fates. In this manner, Durth has delivered an analytical model for architectural historiography on the basis of his interdisciplinary research, that, while being especially focused on the German situation, his clearly formulated moral engagement can be transposed to other European contexts in its method as well as in its form. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani