Günther Domenig had passed away
Günther Domenig (6 July 1934 – 15 June 2012) was born in Klagenfurt, and studied architecture at the Technische Universität, Graz (1953–1959). After working as an architectural assistant, he set up in practice with Eilfried Huth (1963–1973), producing highly regarded buildings in a brutalist vein. Domening’s first internationally acclaimed completed work was the Z-bank in Vienna, which signalled a much more expressionistic, counter-modernist aesthetic. Domenig’s subsequent work has been important, particularly in the exploration of free flowing, highly modelled but technically precise architecture which has achieved a wide acceptance for commercial and public commissions (as in, for example, the work of Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind).
In the wider world, Domenig produced many notable buildings, with clients as diverse as schools, banks, local authority social housing departments, and difficult projects such as the Dokumentationszentrum (Documentation Centre, 1999) in Nürnberg adjacent to Albert Speer’s Nazi Party Congress complex. In addition to his practice, Domenig was also appointed Professor at the Technische Univerität, Graz in 1980. He died, aged 77, in Graz.
1963–68 Pedagogic Academy, Graz (with Eilfried Huth)
1965–69 Parish centre, Oberwart (with Eilfried Huth)
1973–77 Multi-purpose school hall, Graz
1974–79 Zentralsparkasse bank, Vienna
1980– Steinhaus, Steindorf
1987 Funder Factory (Funder Werk II), St Veit
1993–96 RESOWI-Zentrum (university building), Karl Franzens Universität,Graz
1998 Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Nürnberg
2004 T-Center (headquarters building), Vienna (with Hermann Eisenköck, Herfried Peyker)
Wolf D. Prix from COOP HIMMELB(L)AU send us a statement on the occasion of the passing away of Günther Domenig on June 15.
Domenig and the Austrian Architecture
On YouTube the famous American Rapper Ice Cube can be viewed while he is explaining the Eames House in LA in a competent way. I am questioning myself, whether a similar scene would be possible in Austria: DJ Ötzi or the Trackshittaz explain Günther Domenigs Steinhaus. Answer: no.
The word “important” as preliminary stage to being a star is used in an inflationary way today. Nevertheless I insist that Günther Domenig was one of the most important Austrian architects. Important in terms of being weighty. In my opinion the former Z-Bank branch in the Favoritenstraße in Vienna was one of his best buildings. Long before the convoluted computer architects started using parametric tools to give their lame design a boost, Domenig had not only designed the first threedimensional facade, but actually built it, too. Himself, he has never differed from architecture and art, has been able to achieve a building that is uncompromising – located in the baroque thought – creating expressive space sequences and therefore connotes an important contribution to the Austrian Architecture. It’s amazing, that this building has only been possible in a peripheral district, and not in the city center of Vienna.
“Domenig and University of Applied Arts”
I don’t know whether the responsible parties at the University of Applied Arts know who Domenig was, but in the light of recent events I would like to invite them to review your intentions to move our university into the run-down building of the WU University, even just for the next few years. At least the Institute of Architecture could use the opportunity as a statement by moving into the former Z-Bank home planned by Domenig in the “Favoritenstraße”.
A Text that I wrote for Domenig in 1988
On Günther Domenig
He constructed buildings like boxers throw punches. His ring was the square of the construction site marked out by the theodolite. His opponent: the building. His strength was the skillful inside fight, not the distant battle. Breathing heavily, he stood in the ring, his head drilled into the paper breast of the problem; he slugged hooks of cement, swings of steel, uppercuts of detail from the shoulder. It wasn’t elegant, but immensely powerful. And effective. He always won before the clock ran out. His buildings were standing knock-outs. In his monastery, dressed in his sumptuous memory robes, surrounded by the scattered trophies from his victories, engulfed by the choral songs of his friends and followers, he will rest, left to tend to his wounds and relive his dreams. We will visit him.