We Don't Accept Reality as Set

architect Wolf D. Prix / Coop-Himmelb(l)au
interviewed by Vera Grimmer, Saša Bradić, Ante Nikša Bilić


Interviewed in Vienna, March 20th 2003


ORIS: In the late fifties and early sixties, Vienna was an important site of the post-war avant-garde. The writers of the Wiener Gruppe radicalised language, while the art of the Viennese Actionists, related to corporeality, went up to and sometimes across the borders of existence. At the end of the sixties, this fertile atmosphere gave rise to several young avant-garde architectural groups: Haus-Rucker, COOP-HIMMELBLAU, Missing Link, Zünd-Up, and Salz der Erde. But only COOP-HIMMELBLAU is still in existence, still sticking to their original principles to a very large extent, and showing constant renewal and vitality. Is this perhaps because from the very beginning your principles were existential?


Prix: I think there are two reasons for this. This is the steady optimism that is expressed by our actual name and the expanding sense for life that we still have. And the second important thing is that we very early on got out of Vienna. And this is among other things why we are still around because Vienna either kills off its inventors or drives them out.