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Raimund Abraham: 9 Houses Triptych

Abraham’s exploratory drawings depict imaginary utopian environments and question universal ideas of place, time and experience


Raimund Abraham’s 9 Houses Triptych

Lebbeus Woods once referred to the avant-garde architect Raimund Abraham as ‘the teacher of teachers’. Passionate, quixotic and uncompromising, Abraham was born and trained in Austria before moving to the United States, where the most recognisable of his few built works - the Austrian Cultural Forum New York - is located.

Abraham’s small built oeuvre is complemented by an extensive collection of exploratory drawings that depict imaginary utopian environments in meticulous detail. This was not drawing for art, nor to be translated into structure: it was drawing to question universal ideas of place, time and experience.

Among Abraham’s strikingly original depictions of everything from chairs and lavatories to bridges and cities are a vast range of houses that reveal an obsession with the archetypal act of dwelling, one explored by Joseph Rykwert (AR July 2015). In the dreamlike 9 Houses Triptych from 1975 and reproduced in part here, mysterious tectonic shapes both float and appear to grow out of an uncanny, siteless landscape.

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