Editorial // Christian Muhr
DMAA ZOOM is a publication
in the form of a newspaper which offers
an up-to-date insight into the work
and the ways of working and thinking
of the Vienna architectural office
Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.
Studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, trained as a curator at Danube University Krems.
Partner of Liquid Frontiers, an agency whose many specialities include writing about architecture, since 2000.
The title says it all because the following 24 pages and the comprehensive illustrated supplement represent an attempt to “zoom in” on not only individual projects but also the internal world of this now multinational team. ZOOM provides background information about selected works, presents the key players and offers an impression of the processes that underpin the designs of DMAA.
ZOOM approaches its subject from two directions: In the first part, “ZOOMING IN”, DMAA speaks for itself in a series of extensive interviews whereas the second part, “ZOOMING OUT”, is a collection of statements by colleagues, clients and accomplices who are involved with DMAA in a variety of ways and, as a result, able to offer an informed outside perspective on the office and its characteristics. These insights come from architects and town planners, clients, cultural experts and politicians from Austria and abroad, all of whom were also interviewed for ZOOM. By raising subjects ranging from urban design and sustainability to the current status of the architectural profession they have ensured that ZOOM is much more than just the portfolio of a productive architectural office.
Rather than attempting to comprehensively present the complete oeuvre of DMAA from the past 25 years ZOOM very consciously focusses on the team’s current and future projects. The individual contributions provide a – hopefully – dynamic portrait of DMAA in the form of a snapshot which also contains reflections on the past and visions of the future. The starting point is a reprint of an essay written by the Finnish architectural theorist Kari Jormakka in 2010 whose profound analysis of the design strategies of DMAA has lost none of its topicality.
Quite the opposite: This text by the architecture expert who taught in Vienna and died far too young remains one of the most significant texts about DMAA published to date. An “art insert” derived from a subject by the Berlin-based Austrian artist Christian Schwarzwald exemplifies DMAA’s intense cooperation with a wide range of contemporary artists. The motif “ZELL” is taken from the work at the DMAA-designed Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems which Schwarzwald executed as part of the Kunst-am-Bau (art-in-architecture) programme.
The publication is rounded off by a photo spread featuring typical scenes from DMAA’s offices together with a compact portrait of the office in the form of facts and figures and an organigram showing the organisational structure of DMAA. While the specific approach, architectural position and attitude to design of DMAA is communicated by the contents as a whole, the DMAA alphabet offers an almost aphoristicversion of the office’s DNA. ZOOM is completed and complemented by a magazine that brings together some key works from the past few years under the title “360”. After the newspaper in which text takes centre stage it is the magazine that delivers the associated images.
DMAA has been celebrating the adventure of architecture for 25 years, driven – in equal measure – by reason and passion, realism and vision.
We would like to thank all participants for their commitment and trust that you enjoy reading this first edition of ZOOM. We would be delighted to receive any comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The spherical form of the spatial graphic installation “ZELL” by Christian Schwarzwald sets a distinct tone in the foyer of Karl Landsteiner University while also providing a striking counterpoint to the orthogonal architecture of the building.
The floating formation consists of eight hundred sheets of aluminium measuring 24 x 32 centimetres whose acrylic-painted motifs – graphic symbols and pictorial gestures – combine to create a visual system that recalls the blueprint of the genetic code.
Christian Schwarzwald studied at the Academies of Fine Arts in Vienna and Athens. He lives and works in Berlin and Vienna. Christian Schwarzwald has become known for the graphic installations in which he draws on individual sheets that he then arranges into space-filling series which soften the traditional boundaries between drawing, painting and architecture in favour of an unusually intense overall impact.
Over the course of around a decade the artist has developed a characteristic, open and, at the same time, unmistakeable language with which he addresses not only spatial but also political and social conditions.