I Am Against Architecture Being Neutral

architect Hans Hollein
interviewed by Vera Grimmer, Saša Bradić, Andrija Rusan


Interviewed in Vienna, December 5th 2004


Hans Hollein belongs to a generation of splendid architects such as Peter Eisenman, Arat Izosaki, and Frank Gehry. In 1985 he received the prestigious Pritzker Award for architecture. He has been present on the international architectural scene since the early 1960s. His ideas and buildings have influenced a great many people; his Retti Candle Shop revolutionised small store design, his Museum in Mönhengladbach revolutionised the concept of the museum and cancelled out the distinction between the house and the city, between the house and the landscape. His work is found in the world’s greatest museums such as MOMA, the Pompidou Centre and the Stedelijk Museum. Hollein masterfully straddles the lines between architecture, sculpture, painting and conceptual art. His ideas and manifestos are as current and thrilling today as when they first appeared.


ORIS: Ever since the early sixties, you have kept on expanding the space for architecture. In that sense we are all indebted to you. Your presence and relevance have been unquestionable for decades now. Do you think that the cause of this has been, among other things, the perseverance of your concepts, in the sense that you stand behind your ideas equally today as when they first appeared? 


Hollein: Yes, it is exactly like that. I stand behind my earlier thoughts and concepts even today. I can tie into specific concepts even after many years, if a realization can be found for that specific idea. Certainly, a person develops throughout the decades, but with me there is no time period that I would rather forget or with which I would no longer like to be associated. From my earliest drawings and projects and up to today, you can see a certain continuity, but from my end, also the conviction that they continue to be valid for me. Some of these concepts were the basis of my reflections. Even if those reflections were differentiated, and became more complex, this never came to a complete swit­ching to some other sphere.