Interviewed in Vienna 24 May 2014
In the focus of a joint practice of Artec architects, which Bettina Götz and Richard Manahl have been running for many years, is the research of the possibilities of typologies, as well as materials, structures and, above all, space. Their work was greatly affected by their studies in the specific conditions of Graz University of Technology, much under the influence of the then avant-garde Günther Domenig.
ORIS: There is an analytical approach in all your works, as well as the review of the existing values. Let us recall your early work, the Haus Manahl, where things acquire a different meaning, e.g. the roof changes into the exterior wall. What motivated such a critical review?
Artec: We have always been interested in the conceptual work. Typology evolves from the concept, and over the typology we set the conditions on the location, which in turn result in a specific building. Haus Manahl was one of the first buildings we had designed, and was a somewhat different example. Building conditions demanded a gable roof. We included this formal condition in the concept. On the one hand, working differently than we had used to, was a challenge for us. We sought for a solution until the gable roof ceased being a gable roof, thus once again resulting from a concept we have rewound backwards, so to speak. As you correctly said, the exploration of space and spatial structures is for us the most important, and we are trying to find our own answers. We are always focused on the result, which should be a step towards further development. This house really is a play of relations, dimensions, volumes and the interior space, which is then inverted in the exterior. In an extremely heterogeneous settlement, where there is everything, yet nothing specific, the house invokes certain irritation. The same is true of its interior, yet in a different way.