Tagged : Austria

An offer you can’t refuse


Here’s the deal. You pay me 150 million euros and you receive 300 million euros back. And it’s no scam. For many all people, this would be ‘the perfect deal’. What would your answer be?

Surprisingly, many people (or companies for that matter) answer ‘no’ to this question. BMW, the German automobile company, did not. They decided to go for it!

Back in 2000, they were in need of a new corporate headquarters. After consulting several architecture companies, they picked Wolf Prix’s Coop Himmelb(l)au as architect of their choice. In 2007 their new headquarters, BMW Welt, opened for business. The building had a staggering price tag of over 150 million euros.

When I worked for Coop Himmelb(l)au, I spoke with someone who had been involved in this project. This architect told me there was quite some debate within Coop Himmelb(l)au and BMW. Is it worth erecting a building worth over 150 million euros? Can we build it for half the money? Does BMW Welt have to be this spectacular? Ultimately Wolf Prix convinced BMW to spend the money and build this ‘temple for BWM’ as he called it. The result: In the following years, BMW received free exposure and media coverage worth hundreds of millions of euros because of their new headquarters.

I’m not suggesting bigger is always better. However, sometimes, it can be worth spending a bit more money to reach your goal. Ultimately vision and courage of the client are factors that matter most. Which is even more true during times of economic hardship.

chbl

Coop Himmelb(l)au Q/A

Sometimes readers of this blog ask questions about previous blog posts and my previous experiences. This time it’s a question about me being an intern at Vienna based architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au. I could answer the inquirer by email, but by answering his questions on this blog I might help other people. Here’s our Q/A…

How’s the experience?

In one word: Fantastic! In the past I worked for several architecture firms. But non of them employed over 150 employees (which is pretty big for an architecture firm!). And none of them had projects all over the world (ranging from the United States to China and from Azerbaijan to Albania). Also the fact that one of the founders, Wolf D. Prix, still works at this company adds something special to the experience. Wether you’d agree with his design philosophies or not, it is awesome to learn (first hand) from such a worldwide renowned architect! And to quote a colleague: “It is fantastic to work for a company who invented their own architecture style”. And this is actually true (check Wikipedia!).

How’s the work environment?

Very special. Each project will comprise a small team of 5-10 people. Within such a team you’ll make friends really soon. Since stakes are high, people sometimes often make long days, but are thoroughly motivated. This adds to the ‘energy’ inside the office. There are models, concept renderings and drawings all over the place!

What kind of projects did you work on?

Big projects! That’s all I can say. I’m sorry! Everyone working with Coop Himmelb(l)au has to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Since my projects aren’t even mentioned on their website (or anywhere else on the web), I’m not allowed to tell you a single thing about the projects I worked on.

What software did you use?

AutoCAD and Rhino for the 2D and 3D drawings. Also I used Photoshop and InDesign a lot.

To conclude: Perhaps the best thing at doing an internship at this (or probably any other) company is you’ll get the chance to meet so many interesting and fascinating people. And you’ll work on fascinating projects worldwide, while you live and work in the old and classic city of Vienna.

chbl

Internship @ Coop Himmelb(l)au

During my undergraduate studies I wanted to do an internship at a large international architecture firm. In 2010 I reached this goal by working for Vienna based company Coop Himmelb(l)au.

Deconstructivist Architecture

Coop Himmelb(l)au was founded in 1986. It’s an architecture firm primarily located in Vienna, Austria. The company was founded by Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer. It gained international acclaim alongside Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry with the 1988 exhibition “Deconstructivist Architecture” at MoMA.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Coop Himmelb(l)au is the fact they have their own style. I mean, they practically invented deconstructivism and they’re proud of it. And why wouldn’t they!

During the course of the internship I worked on several great projects. Believe me, it’s kinda special to work on skyscrapers worth over 200 million Euros (290 million USD).

Controlled Chaos

According to Wikipedia, the architectural style of Deconstructivism is characterized by ideas of fragmentation. The finished visual appearance is characterized by a stimulating unpredictability and a controlled chaos. This is also true for one of the projects I was working on… controlled chaos.

Unfortunately I can’t share any information of the project I was working on, although I already wrote it’s a skyscraper. A soon as the project hits the website of Coop Himmelb(l)au, I’ll also post it here. In the mean time, I’ll share some photos of the beautiful city of Vienna.

The Austrian Parliament

The statue of Athena in front of the Austrian Parliament

View of the world famous Schönbrunn Palace

Hofburg Theater

The Hundertwasserhaus

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) at Stephansplatz

The Votive Church (Votivkirche)

Inside the Austrian Parliament

Inside the Wiener Musikverein

City Hall

The ferris wheel (Riesenrad) at Prater park

‘Roman’ Ruin at Schönbrunn (erected in 1778)

View of the world famous Schönbrunn Palace during winter time

I just realized I didn’t include pictures of the Hofburg Palace, State Opera, The Johan Strauss Monument or St. Charles’s Church, to name a view. Maybe Vienna has too many monuments?!